My first owl

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I saw my first owl today!!! It was huge – a bee-oo-tiful Great Horned Owl. As I was following a faint trail through the land of white spruce and red squirrels in the Weaselhead Flats, one of the red squirrels sounded its alarm call and made me look up into one of the spruce. Woah! Big owl! I took a picture striped with closer branches.

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When I tried to get closer, the owl flew away, showing me the incredible size of its wings. It disappeared. I wandered through the spruce, photographing squirrels and chickadees and nuthatches. At some point, a Blue Jay flew through the trees and shortly after, piercing shrieks cut through the squirrel chatter. I homed in on the shrieks and the Blue Jay and the owl who was being shrieked at. The owl flew away, but I saw it perch not too far off. I left lots of space between us and it let me photograph its two profiles and the back of its head.

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Great Horned Owls (Bubo virginianus, Grand-duc d’Amรฉrique) are one of the most common owls in North America. They do not migrate, but settle year round in a variety of habitats – deserts, wetlands, forests, grasslands, backyards, cities, and almost any other semi-open habitat between the Arctic and the tropics. Fun facts courtesy of All About Birds.

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26 Comments

  1. Hi Myriam – How exciting, your heart must have been pounding. I’m excited just seeing the your pictures.

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    1. :-). Glad you felt some of my excitement. Not sure my heart rate increased, but I definitely held my breath for a few moments.

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  2. Wow! Awesome photos! I have a wonderful book on Owls by Marianne Taylor that I bought on Amazon. ๐Ÿ™‚

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    1. Thanks Jill :-). Sounds like an interesting read with great photographs. I’ll see if my local library has it.

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  3. COOL!! We hear them all the time, but I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a good look at one. We had a cute little screech owl in our shed that let me take photos once though. ๐Ÿ™‚

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    1. Oo, a screech owl :-)! They look so cute when they cuddle. I can’t recall having heard an owl before. I just listened to an owl hoot recording – they sound a lot like humans hooting like owls.

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      1. LOL! Screech owls sound like whinnying horses. ๐Ÿ™‚ I love it when owls call back and forth to each other.

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        1. Haha! They do sound like whinnying horses :-). Thanks for mentioning that. It would be cool to hear them “in real life” some day.

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  4. wooo hooo! so exciting! Lucky you!

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  5. What a fantastic and exciting adventure! Congratulations on your first owl sighting and the great photographs. Thank you for sharing the story and the beautiful owl.

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    1. Thanks Haunani :-). Glad you enjoyed my little adventure. I always have a wonderful adventure when I enter the woods and leave human sounds for squirrel and bird chatter. Seeing the owl felt a bit like entering a fantastic story.

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  6. Wonderful! Oh, I love owls!!! Lucky you! ๐Ÿ˜€ I hear them at night (creepy), but have never seen one in person!

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    1. I do feel quite lucky :-). I wonder where your creepy night hooters hang out during the day. I don’t think I’ve ever heard an owl hoot. Maybe I need to go camping soon.

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      1. lol! I hear them late at night when everything’s quiet and it’s almost time for bed. Not every night but … what a creepy sound!

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        1. It is a pretty classic haunted house sound :-). Something a little blood chilling about it.

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          1. Right? I try to remind myself it’s only a bird, hehe. Quite creepy.

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            1. I don’t think you need to worry about owls. If you were mouse… then definitely yes!

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  7. Very cool! Great pictures!

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  8. Oh my burd gawd! Pat yourself on the back for this please whilst I pick up my jaw from the floor!

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    1. Thanks for appreciating my owl encounter Christy :-). I really enjoyed your recent post about Spotted Owls. So cute! And your story about spending summers in rural India with your grandparents was sweet and interesting.

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  9. That is so neat. I once came across one as I was pushing my way through thick and tangled brush. I used to do that kind of thing just for fun. When I was young. What happened??! But I digress.

    What strikes me over and over when I read your wonderful posts is your affinity to animals. I know that usually I’m just not tuned in enough to the creatures around me to note a distress call in the first place. If I did I would assume I was the source and ignore it. Makes me wonder whether I’m walking under owls and am simply oblivious!

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  10. How lovely that you came upon an owl! I used to walk on overgrown trails a lot when I was a teenager. And I got momentarily lost a few times :-). I still do it once in a while, if a trail is too busy or a little deer trail beckons… or just because it feels and smells different than a well worn trail.

    When I was younger, I liked to move fast, so I rarely noticed animals. Now I often notice animals when I’m still. I hear a sound or I see movement. When I walk slowly, I’m often scanning for motion or straining to hear sounds. Sometimes it makes me feel a bit like a hunter and a touch obsessive! So I switch to chilling with the plants mode and appreciating what is in front of me. I often wonder how many still and quiet animals are in the trees, bushes and grass around me.

    It seems to me that you notice a lot. There are so many plants and animals in your paintings and so many beautiful details :-).

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