The Next Chapter of the Palm Tree Owls

By Dan Weisz

Look who reappeared!

The last time we saw the Great Horned Owlet he had been spotted on April 28th (remember the hummingbird photos?) He had left the nest a week prior and for several days since we hadn’t located the young owlet.  And then, on May 2nd, he finally reappeared across the street and on the wall of a house where the owners were out of town.  That perch spot made for another delightful series of portrait shots (or “school” photos).  

In the picture above, I like how the features of the screen door create a radiant effect from the owl’s head.  And then by taking two steps to the left, we get the stucco wall behind the owl.

A few more steps to the left leads to a lush bougainvillea background.  The Great Horned Owlet is squatting down making it look more plump than it is.  Its feathers are growing out and showing variable brown colors.  And the owl’s facial disc is becoming more prominent.  That ‘side-eye’ and those talons seem to be expressing something?  But what?

I moved to my left just a bit more…..

Shortly the parents flew to the saguaros behind the houses.  Owl’s eyes are so expressive that we create meaning behind the looks when, in fact, the owls are just looking- no more and no less. Still, this owl has a great expression.  

The owl stretched its wings in preparation for the night’s work ahead of it.  Even while he was doing this, he kept an eye on me.  This photo was taken about ten minutes after sunset on the shady side of a hill.  Thanks again, to the technology built into cameras and in processing programs so that an image like this can still tell a clear story.

In the meantime, the other Great Horned Owl (Mom I think) was sitting on a saguaro even further out.  She is on the famous slanted-top saguaro.  Besides her direct stare, her huge feathered feet enchant me.

Then she roused in preparation for flight, lifting her right foot at the same time.  She looked towards her left in the direction of the palm tree nest and then promptly took off.

The female Great Horned Owl landed atop a nearby tree where she could keep an eye on her first little one (on the wall across the street) as well as her other owlet who was still in the Palm Tree “nest”.

The owl on the wall was getting tired of sitting up so it laid flat on its stomach to rest.

It was getting very dark and the sight of the little owl told me that my day had ended.  But the saga continues with more photos to come!

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