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Our Neighborhood Owls

August 30, 2010

Yes, there's a great horned owl on the branch...

Out for a walk by Sutro Forest yesterday evening, we saw our neighborhood Great Horned Owls. They live and nest in the forest, and come out around dusk. I first noticed them some years ago, and I’d heard them even before that. (If you hear a soft resonant hoot, that’s them. Most other kinds of owls don’t hoot; they screech or cry out.)

Great horned owl, not a bunch of leaves.

One of them was perched in the fork of a big eucalyptus tree, looking out at the landscape, waiting for dark and hunting time. As we stopped to watch the watcher, its mate arrived, landed on a higher branch, and looked around with interest. As long as we chattered, they ignored us, but when we whistled softly, they bobbed their heads and turned to look at us.

No one had a camera, so these indistinct images are from a cell phone.

It was amazing, to see these splendid birds so near home. “I’ve never seen owls so close up before,” said my companion. We felt very lucky indeed.

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