Ghosts at the Palace


The ghostly aeronauts are in full swing at the Palace of Fine Arts. Looks like the one nest we found in April (click here) has turned into three. I spent an hour and a half with the begging, clicking, chirping Barn Owls now residing in the rotunda.


Landing atop the columns. The owls are a bit more outgoing and less secretive than they were a few months ago.


I saw this couple, and a number of birds who were fully feathered but acting like juveniles and begging.


These owls are touching bills. I’m not sure why, but it seemed like the one on the left was begging and the other was just putting up with it.


This couple seemed more settled, but after a while it was hard to keep track of which owl was which. They travel silently and often wander along the ledges. I saw 9 different owls in 90 minutes.


This owl actually landed on a vertical face, clinging to the wall for 20 seconds before flying off.


This is a female who has several 4-5 week old chicks. Two of them have fallen from the nest and are now being cared for by WildCare. I happened to be involved in one of the rescues.(see the video below)


From what I can tell, this is a fully feathered chick, peering down from the nest.


They are venturing further out each day. They seem truly nocturnal, not becoming active until darkness really sets in.

Below is video of a 4-5 week old chick that fell 40 feet from the nest. It seemed in good health and will either be re-nested or slow released with other young owls at a rehab center.

10 responses

  1. RKB

    Another brilliant set of pictures. Thanks for posting them!

    July 26, 2011 at 2:16 am

  2. John Wall

    I’ll never forget the one I saw out the back window, up in Golden Gate Heights, It rose almost vertically out of a neighbor’s yard right around dawn. Or was it dusk? I guess there are some things about it I will forget, but certainly not the wonder I felt at seeing one in the city. I didn’t know you could shoot video in vertical format!

    July 26, 2011 at 9:15 am

  3. such creatures. thrilling they found habitat and are thriving in the city. satisfying juicy bird fix today. thank you.

    July 26, 2011 at 11:48 am

  4. A fantastic view into a world we are often unaware of…thank you!

    July 26, 2011 at 11:02 pm

    • Thanks Robin! I hope you and Neela are well. I miss you.

      July 26, 2011 at 11:30 pm

  5. And thanks to everyone for the kind words. I’m glad to be able to share these images.

    July 26, 2011 at 11:32 pm

  6. Hi Walter, do you know if the barn owls nested at the Palace this year, 2012?

    October 30, 2012 at 7:48 am

    • Fairly certain they did. There has been evidence of their presence non-stop since last year.

      October 30, 2012 at 3:38 pm

      • LoveYourDNA/julie

        This is good news, indeed. Bless us with some new pics if you can…

        October 30, 2012 at 5:00 pm

  7. Ah! So that’s how you do it.

    October 31, 2012 at 11:45 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s