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Posts Tagged ‘Owls’

Hello All,

This past April, while exploring one of my favourite wooded areas in Ottawa, Ontario, I was lucky enough to hear a single ‘hoot’ from an owl. I began scanning the trees and searching the area, and minutes later and 50 yards from where I originally heard the call, I came upon a barred owl perched high in a tree.

Within minutes, another barred owl was spotted perched a few trees over. The excitement was quite overwhelming, as I was fairly confident this was a nesting pair.

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The next couple of weeks were spent capturing the behaviour of both owls – including preening, vocalizing, pellet regurgitating, and sleeping. Finally, I discovered the location of the nest. It was in the hollowed trunk of a broken tree, approximately 15 feet up from the ground.

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Listening to the two owls vocalize back and forth was quite the experience. Barred owls have a very distinctive call and they would periodically ‘hoot’ to each other throughout the day. Here is some video footage I captured of an exchange.

On June 11th I discovered three chicks had successfully hatched. My guess is they had hatched approximately 3 to 4 weeks earlier. Here they are in the crowded nest.

This past week I discovered that the first chick had left the nest. It will not fledge for another 3 to 4 weeks, but they are excellent climbers and are classed as ‘branchers’ at this stage. This little one was perched on a downed tree, approximately 30 yards from the nest site. I was fortunate enough to spend almost an hour with it, no more than 10 feet away.

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I was very excited to capture the following footage of this chick, regurgitating two pellets, then jumping on to a tree truck and climbing up some 15 feet.

It has been a wonderful experience observing and documenting this barred owl family. I will be back out in the woods this week, as all three chicks should be out of the nest and interacting with one another and their parents.

Yours in the Outdoors,

Justin

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Hello All,

The owl is a magical bird. Seldom seen by most, but when discovered, they instil a profound excitement that most creatures in nature can’t compete with. The 2013 season has been filled with glimpses of numerous northern birds, allowing many a once-in-a-lifetime chance to view these rare visitors out in the wild.

For myself, this winter has been a milestone. In terms of numbers, I was fortunate and blessed to spend time with seven Great Gray Owls, one Northern Hawk Owl, three Snowy Owls, two Great Horned Owls, and two Barred Owls. For the majority of these interactions I was alone with the bird – to watch with amazement as it silently (and successfully) hunted, preened, protected its territory, and interacted with the environment. These experiences saw me travel throughout Ottawa, Kingston, and Algonquin Provincial Park.

These moments in time I captured with my camera are special. Each tell a story. In total I took over 5,700 images. The following are those I am most proud of.

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Enjoy The Outdoors,

Justin

(click on images to view full size)

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Hello Folks,

I was both fortunate and honoured to spend yesterday afternoon photographing four Great Gray owls just fifteen minutes from my home, here in Ottawa, Ontario. The Great Gray – commonly called the Phantom of the North – is a rare visitor to southern and eastern Ontario, with a home range and breeding ground in the northern Boreal forests.

Every four or five years these “ghost-like” birds move southward – usually en masse – typically in search of food. 2012/2013 is the year they have made an appearance once again, although not in as great numbers as one of the largest irruptions, occurring in 2004/2005. Many years not a single bird is spotted, so to spend time with one – let alone four – is truly a rare treat.

In terms of length, the Great Gray owl is the largest owl in North America, ranging from 24 to 33 inches. The wingspan can exceed 60 inches. Much of its size is deceptive, since this species’ fluffy feathers, large head and the longest tail of any extant owl obscure a body lighter than that of most other large owls.

Great Gray owls are very tolerant of daylight and have a relaxed attitude around humans, making them a wonderful photo subject if you are lucky enough to find one.

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Enjoy the Outdoors,

Justin

(click on images to view at full size)

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