Great Horned Owl…

A couple of months ago in the evening we would hear the hooting of an owl, so we decided to go on a little walk toward the sound and low and behold we found her…_Z3A3476_Z3A3467_Z3A3528_Z3A3587_Z3A3691-Edit

 

It seemed each evening she would end up in the same tree…_Z3A2844_Z3A2853_Z3A2854

 

Then we noticed an old nest a couple of trees down.  A couple of weeks ago I decided to look for her again and found her IN the nest and last week see what I spotted…_Z3A2293_Z3A2269_Z3A2253_Z3A2257

 

A fuzzy, wuzzy little owlet!!

 

Cool Facts

  • Great Horned Owls are fierce predators that can take large prey, including raptors such as Ospreys, Peregrine Falcons, Prairie Falcons, and other owls. They also eat much smaller items such as rodents, frogs, and scorpions.
  • When clenched, a Great Horned Owl’s strong talons require a force of 28 pounds to open. The owls use this deadly grip to sever the spine of large prey.
  • If you hear an agitated group of cawing American Crows, they may be mobbing a Great Horned Owl. Crows may gather from near and far and harass the owl for hours. The crows have good reason, because the Great Horned Owl is their most dangerous predator.
  • Even though the female Great Horned Owl is larger than her mate, the male has a larger voice box and a deeper voice. Pairs often call together, with audible differences in pitch.
  • Great Horned Owls are covered in extremely soft feathers that insulate them against the cold winter weather and help them fly very quietly in pursuit of prey. Their short, wide wings allow them to maneuver among the trees of the forest.
  • Great Horned Owls have large eyes, pupils that open widely in the dark, and retinas containing many rod cells for excellent night vision. Their eyes don’t move in their sockets, but they can swivel their heads more than 180 degrees to look in any direction. They also have sensitive hearing, thanks in part to facial disc feathers that direct sound waves to their ears.
  • The oldest Great Horned Owl on record was at least 28 years old when it was found in Ohio in 2005.

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Sharp-tailed Grouse…

Sunday morning my husband and myself, along with some friends arose at 4:30 am to be at a Sharp-tailed Grouse lek an hour before sunrise…

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Arriving an hour before sunrise with stars still in the sky and a start to a beautiful day…

People wishing to view sharpies dancing must arrive at the lek an hour before sunrise in order not to disturb the grouse.

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Beautiful sunrise on the lek…

The mating routine of Sharp-tailed Grouse involves males displaying communally at a traditional site (one used year after year). This site is known as a “lek.” Males compete for mates by performing a ritualized dance in conjunction with calling (often a booming sound) and inflating purplish air sacs along their necks. Females approach the edge of the lek, observe and eventually select a dance participant to mate with.

Male grouse hold territories on the lek with the dominant male usually claiming the most central position. The central male also normally mates with the most females. In general, a male’s success at attracting females is highly correlated with his position on the lek. This leads to relatively few males siring most of the young.

Above information from here…

Here are just a few pictures from that morning…

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