Pat Hatch's PhotoJournal A blog about photography & other musings…

18Jan/102

Daddy Shows Up with Dinner

Mama Brooding Her Young

Mama Brooding Her Young

So today I was just settling in under the owl tree about an hour before sunset getting a couple of shots of mama brooding her young when all of a sudden papa owl silently alights on a nearby limb. Didn't even hear him. He announced his presence with the "who, who" call. When I looked over and saw him he was already scoping me out. Then I noticed he had his prey with him already, getting ready to feed the family. It looked like a rabbit, but all I could see were the two paws sticking out from under him. Below is a shot of both of them, mama is on the lower left. Look carefully and you'll see her.  If not, click on the picture to go full screen.

Papa's In the House

Papa's In the House

Male Great Horned with Prey

Male Great Horned with Prey

Papa Has Dinner - Takeout

Papa Has Dinner - Takeout

According to my rudimentary calculations, mama's brood would have hatched around January 8th. This is based on a 33-day incubation period. I think she will brood them for about 10 days during which time she will keep her young very close under her; their eyes will open around 7-8 days. So we should begin to see the hatchlings any day now. As a matter of fact, I thought I saw some yellow feathers a couple of days ago--this will be the first indication of the nestlings: bright yellow feathers.

If you look carefully at the photos on the left, you will see the two paws sticking out below the male. He has hold of his prey with one of his talons. I waited until there was no light remaining, but still he did not make his move towards the nest. Maybe I'll get him next time. While I was photographing him he was tearing at the flesh of his prey. I have observed in the past that the male will pull off strips of flesh to feed the female and the young. He will eat the rest of the prey, eventually regurgitating a pod consisting of the fur and bones. These pods can be found around the base of the tree below their nest.

So, I'll continue to check on them every day until I can get the first look at the hatchlings.  Wonder how many there are?  Shouldn't be long now.

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