Great Horned Owls nest in Great Blue Heron rookery
© 2014 Peter Green. All rights reserved. GHO2014-owlet1

Great Horned Owls nest in Great Blue Heron rookery

Great Horned Owls do not build their own nests – they use cavities in trees or take over nests built by other large birds. In the following series, an owl took over a nest built by a Great Blue Heron and raised her own owlets there in the middle of a rookery (collection of nests). Dead trees emerge from a lake created by a beaver dam, and the water keeps the owlets safe from ground predators like raccoons.

© 2014 Peter Green. All rights reserved.

On April 21, I saw just one owlet in the nest with mom:

© 2014 Peter Green. All rights reserved.

On May 3 it looked older and feistier…

© 2014 Peter Green. All rights reserved.

…and a second owlet showed itself:

© 2014 Peter Green. All rights reserved.

By May 11, the owlets were getting bigger and bigger…

© 2014 Peter Green. All rights reserved.
© 2014 Peter Green. All rights reserved.

The herons still went about their own business constructing nests and incubating eggs:

© 2014 Peter Green. All rights reserved.
© 2014 Peter Green. All rights reserved.
© 2014 Peter Green. All rights reserved.
© 2014 Peter Green. All rights reserved.

Here you can see one heron nestling raising its head by mom’s feet

© 2014 Peter Green. All rights reserved.

Back to the Great Horned Owlets… standing tall on May 17…

© 2014 Peter Green. All rights reserved.

…leaping and getting used to their new wings with flight feathers:

© 2014 Peter Green. All rights reserved.

On May 24, the nest was empty but I was lucky to spot an adult across the water.

© 2014 Peter Green. All rights reserved.

After some muddy hiking, I eventually got closer to the owl, but made sure not to frighten it away because I knew it must be guarding its fledglings nearby.

© 2014 Peter Green. All rights reserved.

I quietly scanned the trees and there he was… wow… it was a big thrill to see this adorable owlet had successfully made it out of the nest, across the water and into the safety of the forest.

© 2014 Peter Green. All rights reserved.
© 2014 Peter Green. All rights reserved.
© 2014 Peter Green. All rights reserved.

I was also glad to catch a glimpse of the elusive beavers and their handiwork:

© 2014 Peter Green. All rights reserved.
© 2014 Peter Green. All rights reserved.
© 2014 Peter Green. All rights reserved.

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