The Owlet & The Stink Bug

Video of Big Baby Owl’s encounter with a stink bug

The night before last, both owlets flew back over to the tree by their nest. They’ve been getting really good at flying over the past couple of weeks, and we have been finding them within 100 yards or so north, south, and west of the Tangle Heat Tree. They seemed to want to take a longer flight and reminisce about old times by the nest. They have also been spending their daytimes deeper in the bosque.

Last night I went out a little before 8:00 pm. It was cloudy and windy. I walked by the Tangle Heart Tree but did not see the owlets. I knew it was a little early, so I walked down to the south beach, walked back to 4th of July point, made my way back up onto the levee, looked for the owlets but I saw and heard nothing more than the trees swaying and the leaves rustling in the wind. I walked up to Beaver Point, saw and photographed a beaver, then I walked back toward the Tangle Heart Tree. About 200 feet from the Tangle Heat Tree I thought I heard a peep. I stopped and called the owlets, listened best I could through the sound of the blowing wind, and I heard another peep. I called again, and Big Baby Owl flew to a branch about 100 feet from me. About a minute later Little Baby Owl flew up on the branch. Both of the owlets were looking out towards the northwest when Big Baby Owl flew off in that direction, out of the bosque, and landed on the lower bank of the levee. I walked toward her and started the video.

It was after 8:30 pm, and quite dark, when I started the video. I was +2 stops on the exposure, and the camera was having a hard time staying in focus. The Owlet flew up to the upper bank of the levee, ran toward me stopped, bent over, and started trying to eat something on the ground. She straightened up and shook her head. A stink bug dropped in front of her and started walking across the levee. Its stink must have tasted pretty bad because she kept shaking her head as she persued it across the top of the levee. Once she reached the edge of the bosque, Mama Owl fley by out of view of the camera and landed in a cottonwood on the edge of the bosque. The owlet saw her, peeped, and flew up into the cottonwood with Mama Owl. I moved to where I could see the owls, but Mama flew off before I could get her on the video. I was close enough to the owlet to get her in good focus, and she can be heard peeping through the wind.

Big Baby Owl in the cottonwood by the nest on Thursday night.

Little Baby Owl looking back toward the bosque.

Beaver at Beaver Point

Big Baby Owl right after she flew up on the branch last night.

Little Baby Owl joins her.

Both owlets were looking out at something to the northwest before Big Baby Owl flew down to the levee and had her adventure with the stink bug.

49 thoughts on “The Owlet & The Stink Bug

  1. I really enjoyed the video as well as the images. The little owlets are getting big. πŸ™‚

  2. That is so amazing that you are able to capture these two growing up and discovering the awful taste of a stink bug (at least we are to assume that is why she keeps shaking her head!)
    So cool.

    • Thanks, Dale. She wasn’t shaking her heard before she started to eat the stink bug. She gaining experience. I assume somewhere in her little owl brain is now stored “stink bugs don’t taste very good”.

  3. This is priceless Timothy. They are so cute. Big Baby didn’t care for the stink bug. Live and learn. So beautifully Camouflaged in the tree. I love following these owls and the Beavers too. Great shots Tim. I’ll bet you had fun with this!
    Our weather is atrocious here, tornado warnings. I can see the trees blowing in your video, a little rough there?

    • Thanks, Holly. We’ve been having thunderstorms and rain, about a month early. We missed seeing the owlets a couple of nights last week because it was pouring rain. The owlets are so much fun. I love watching them, but photographing them and doing video of them in the dark gets frustrating with all the trouble focusing and slow shutter speeds.

      • We just got back from visiting the owlets. They were flying around in the treetops, landing on tiny twigs and the very tiptops of the cottonwods by your Tangle Heart Tree. I keep thinking one or both with be in the tangle heart tree when I walk up there. I’ll bet they sit on it quite a bit during the night when I’m not out to witness it.

      • Ahhh, I would love to see them flitting around! I’m sure they like the Tangle Heart because they can sit on those stripped limbs and see for miles without brush to interfere and I’m sure they feel completely safe out there. They are so amazing.

  4. Timothy: you filled my heart with joy. Big Baby Owl is so handsome and so alert and so curious… he is a gem. WOW. The video and the pictures are great. Thank you for making my evening so beautiful.
    Warm wishes to everyone.

  5. Talk about a fun to watch video. That “Oh crap that thing tastes terrible” head shake is hilarious. You are so blessed to have these opportunities, Timothy. I am so glad for you guys.

  6. The baby owl is beautiful, Timothy, great video too. My home in Michigan had lots of stink bugs trying to get in the house, stinky!

  7. What a fun video. The owlets are beautiful. I watched the video with Martha Argerich playing piano in the bg. It worked perfectly, and the peeping fit in perfectly!
    Great! Stink bug?

    • Thanks, Resa. You don’t have stink bugs up your way? They are beetles that emit a nasty odor, that I assume is foul tasting by the way the owlet reacted. I’ve never tried to eat a stink bug. Nice to have music with it.

  8. The owlet’s expression says it all! It’s as if he’s looking at you to check whether you smell it too!!!
    Brilliant video and photos. What a life you got there! πŸ™‚

    • I’m sure the owls think we stink. But they would make a meal of us if they could. Thanks, Marina.

      • Roadrunners would also eat us if they could. Roadrunners always look at you with hungry, questioning eyes: “Can I take that guy down, whomp him on the ground a few times and eat him?”

        When we had a plague of roadrunners years ago, we’d be working out in the garden and there would be 10 or 12 roadrunners walking in a circle around us about 5 to 10 feet away looking at us with their hungry eyes. They also wanted to eat whatever we dug up, also.

        Some mornings the roadrunners would be perched on the roof of the house like vultures sunning themselves, and they would make their weird sound calls.

        After a couple of years the hordes of roadrunners had eaten all the lizards, most of the songbirds, and a lot of the insects. So they left. Besides the occasional roadrunner passing through, we haven’t seen many roadrunners for the past 15 years or more. The lizards and songbirds have recovered. The insects never seem suffer great losses.

      • I was right for hating those creatures! I always thought there should be justice for the poor coyote after all he’s been through (looney tunes)!!!!!

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