This is an image of the female Great Horned Owl that visitors to the Ridgefield NWR have been fortunate to observe raise her young for the last 4 or 5 years. I took this photo April 18, 2013 about a half mile away from the area that we are accustomed to seeing her this time of year. Refuge personnel made the decision a few months ago to destroy the hollowed out nesting snag that she and her mate had been using up until this year. The nest was right at the road’s edge –so close that a visitor could park by the nest, then stand on the hood of their car and almost look into the nest (if they wanted to!). I’m glad they decided to remove the snag and force the owls to find another one this year. It will result in far fewer close up photos of the owls but I believe it is in the birds’ best interest. It will also reduce traffic jams at the nest site in April and May. I have not personally spotted the exact location of the new nest but the owl pair has been hanging around the area where the Ash tree forest begins on the auto tour road. I expect their chicks to fledge in the next couple of weeks. Maybe we’ll get a look at them!
If you are a regular follower of my blog/website you may recall some of the owl photos I have displayed in my galleries. A memorable shot from 2012 was the upside down GHO owlet hanging from a tree branch. This owlet is an offspring of the adult female pictured above.
Taken with a Canon 5D Mark III, 1/1250, f5.6, ISO 1250, Canon 400mm f5.6L lens.