For years we have had on to two pairs of Great Horned owls on the property. In the winter, at about five every night, they start talking back and forth. I often wake up to them around 6 in the morning, as they are still talking, probably about all the great mousing. The male's voice booms throughout the yard. It is a very powerful sound. In the summer, they aren't as talkative, usually making somewhat different noises. This summer, the female was spending the day in a grove of fir trees, about 75' from the bedroom window. I knew there were baby owls around and suspected they were in a very large pine tree near the corner of the house. Earlier in the spring, I was saddened to find a baby at the bottom of the pine tree. It had large holes on its neck. Possibly something of size had grabbed it from the nest.

My normal route when wandering around the property is to walk around the pine tree. This time, because I was mowing and needed something from the garage, I took a shortcut underneath the pine tree. I noticed quite a large spot of bird droppings, so I examined the tree more closely. Suddenly, I saw a rather large, yellow eye looking at me from deep withing the crotch of the tree. The parents had two chicks. Thankfully, the second survived.

The pine tree is about 20' from the back corner of the deck, making photography pretty easy. The owl seemed unconcerned about me, though I always kept my distance and never harassed it. Nor did I stay out long to take pictures. Just a couple now and then.

Now, several weeks later, I found it again, though in a different tree. The owl is not fully feathered, yet is a completely different bird. No longer timid about leaving its nest or walking out on a branch, it navigated the trees like a professional.

Juvenile Great Horned owl in pine tree showing its full body and fuzzy tummy.
Juvenile Great Horned owl in pine tree.
Juvenile Great Horned owl in pine tree peeking around branch

Here's a photo of the owl almost a month later. It moved to a forest of silver poplars, about 400' from where the nest was.

Great Horned owl in silver poplars, juvenile with fuzzy tummy