Fledgling Great Horned Owls learn very quickly the power of an angry glance. Above, we see a sweet youngster relaxing in the woods. He is blissfully unaware of my presence and his cherubic face reflects it.
Below, he switches to his menacing look as soon as he notices me. The drastic change is alarming, impressive, and amazing.
Waking up when you should be sleeping is never fun. This Great Horned Owl calls to its partner who responds through the cacophony of mobbing crows. Eventually the corvids gave up and silence returned to the trees. The two owls ended up perched side by side in an unphotographable spot and stopped hooting.
The Marin Headlands has always been a great place to see owls… but “owl rock” has been quiet lately. Luckily I happened to see this Great Horned Owl moving behind some flowers just in time to pull over and get these shots as it flew into a favoured overhanging oak.
The young Great Horned Owls at Golden Gate park continue to amaze and delight visitors. Please be respectful of their space and comfort. None of these images were taken by encroaching on owls and making them uncomfortable. Many portraits show owls staring at the camera (like they might if they were alarmed), but these were just a few curious glances during what was un-manipulated natural behavior. Close-ups are made possible with a long lens, careful attention, and a bit of wonderful luck. I’m glad to be able to share such a thrilling set of encounters.
*Bonus Behaviour: This young owl started grasping and plucking the nearby tree branch. Confusion? Vegetarianism? Actually I think it was just getting in little practice at plucking prey. I never actually saw it ingest leaves, just rip the branch to shreds.