Without any solicitation on my part, no fewer than five readers have sent me pictures that they took (or obtained) of owls. So let’s finish off our tribute to the Strigiformes with some reader photos. As always, click the photos to enlarge them.
Reader Sean sent pictures of great horned owls (Bubo virginianus) taken at the Stanford Linear Accelerator, where he works:
Here’s a just fledged great horned owl, after being raised on a ledge on a large concrete building at SLAC (nee the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center). He had just attempted to fly and was found under some equipment roughly earthward from his/her former perch. Pretty much claws with wings, IMHO. The photos were not taken by me, but were in the SLAC on-line newsletter (I have no idea who took them). The second photo of same bird after a another few months of rehab/fledging, looking much more like a (small) great-horned owl. The third shot is of the two owlets and mom(?) still on ledge. Chronological order of pix is 3-1-2. [JAC: I’ve put them in chronological order.]
The details are that end station B is one of the large concrete buildings on the SLAC site that was used for electron scattering experiments (electrons from the accelerator hit a target inside the building and are scattered into a detector). It produced the first experimental evidence of the quark model of the nucleus, which was awarded a Nobel way back when (in end station A, but that is a different story). It has been under-utilized in recent years. I’ve been retired from the facility for a few years but have a real fondness for the place. The ledge where these owls hung out is about ~50 feet off the ground and inaccessible to cats and other predators. In one of the articles it was mentioned that the owls wouldn’t make their own nest but would appropriate a raven nest that was already there.
Regular Ben Goren sends a picture he took.
Thought you might enjoy this portrait of a denizen of the Phoenix zoo, one of their Burrowing Owls (Athene cunicularia). Notice how the pupils are differentially dilated in response to the different light levels on each eye….
Another burrowing owl from reader Pete Moulton:
In case no one sends other photographs of them, here’s a Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia) for your owl extravaganza. Not the most Arcadian setting, I’m afraid, but you play ’em as they lie, as it were. A pair of these ultra-cute little brown R2D2s has lived in a storm sewer at the Scottsdale Community College campus for as long as I can remember.
Reader Dave sends two photos of a barred owl (Strix varia):
I’ll see your Great Gray Owl and raise you a Barred Owl from HELL.
Took these photos right outside my back door in northern Ontario in February of this year. He was a big fellow but didn’t seem the least bit perturbed with me taking flash photos of him.
And finally, my old friend Avis James (her mother is an ornithologist, and gave her a birdy name) sent me photos of a great horned owl who lives in a Home Depot (to non-Americans, that’s a big chain that sells fix-up-your-home stuff) in Las Cruces, New Mexico:
The most reliable place to see a Great Horned Owl in Las Cruces is at the Home Depot.
They have been nesting there for at least ten years. Note that the garden center has two pallets that are left alone for the owls to nest on (marked “OWL NEST” in one of the pictures), which I find endearing. You can see where there have been hanging out because there are streaks of poop on the wall. They do fly off to forage, but nest there in the garden center. They have successfully brought off chicks!
So ends Owl Week. I hope you’ve enjoyed this taloned and feathered marvel of natural selection that is known as an owl.