Catching Up on the Last Owl Shots of July

By Dan Weisz

I’m still visiting the juvenile Western Screech Owls a few miles from my house. They never cease to entertain. We are fortunate to have this species living so close to us in the Foothills.

Both owls seem to be saying “wow” here. And notice that the owlets are beginning to develop their adult plumage as evidenced by the vertical stripes showing up on their breast feathers. They are still heavily barred there, but things are changing.

This owl is just beginning to look up and then….

This may be one of my favorite shots. DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME! He looked all the way behind him and then looked up, so the back of his head is against his chest!

Half asleep, and half awake.

Preening, as they do all day long. I think the talon looks exceptionally long and sharp in this photo.

Nibbling on its leg.

Preening is done all day long. Birds preen to clean every individual feather and to align it in the right position every single day.

The owls are very hot during these summer days so they pant to cool down much like dogs do. They also flutter their “gular”, the skin under their beak, to add to their heat dispersion.

And more preening. There’s a head back there somewhere preening the back of the wing feathers.

This stretch is another way birds put their feathers in the right position. They will always stretch the foot on the same side and at the same time as a wing stretch.

I’m not sure how the ’wink’ adds to the stretch, but it does look funny.

And of course, still more to come!

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