Owl family hanging out – Digging


June 11, 2020

Any day now the owlet in our owl box will fly the nest, so I’ve been taking lots of photos while I can. Here’s one of the parents — the mother, I think — on her favorite perch in a juniper tree behind our back fence.

She tolerates my presence much better now that she’s not in the owl box. Then, she’d hide immediately if we stepped into the back yard. But now she’ll sit on the branch and even close her eyes for a catnap while I quietly sit and photograph.

Here she is again, later in the day.

She’s a beautiful bird. Tiny, of course — no more than 9 or 10 inches tall.

Yesterday I inched a little closer, standing next to the fence and pointing my long lens between the cedar posts, still about 10 feet away. She calmly watched. From this angle, I was concerned to see that her left eye looks irritated or inflamed.

Poor mama! I wonder what happened.

A black-crested titmouse made a bold show of fussing at the owl, as smaller birds often do throughout the day.

In the box, the fuzzy owlet popped up to see what I was up to.

He bobbed up and down in the doorway, impatient for dinner.

In past years we always saw two or even three chicks. I keep an eye on the box throughout the day, using binoculars through the window, curious to see if another little face will appear. But if he’s an only, well, that’s less work for mom and dad. And with that eye of hers, it kind of looks like Mom could use a break!

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