We where walking on the levee well after sundown, when we heard a cry that sounded somewhat like a monkey. We looked in the trees, but could not see who was crying. Then we saw a bird jump from branch to branch. Finally a Copper’s Hawk settled on a branch where we had a better view, and I was able to get photos of it through the branches and leaves. It jumped to another branch where it was mostly hidden, but then a much larger bird, flapped it’s wings closer to the Cooper’s Hawk; but it remained hidden behind branches and leaves. The Cooper’s Hawk flew back to another branch where I was able to get another photo of it before it took off into the bosque. A Great Horned Owl (possibly Virginia) flew out from behind the branches and leaves into the bosque a few moments later. I presume the owl was after the Cooper’s Hawk’s chicks and the Cooper’s Hawk was trying to distract the owl with it’s crying. Great horned owls are three to four times larger than Cooper’s Hawks, and could easily make a meal of an adult Cooper’s Hawk, which is probably why the Copper’s Hawk was not attacking the owl.
At first we thought that there was only one owlet in the cottonwood in the neighbor’s yard just south of us. Turns out there are three owlets again this year. One of the oldest owlets was trying to get out of the nest last night.
Moving on north to Virginia. You can refresh your memory about who Virginia is at https://wp.me/p1yQyy-4dG. Another resident owler said she had seen a second owlet with Virginia, but we have not seen the second owlet. Virginia is older than the three owlets down south, and she has been getting out of the nest for a couple of weeks (she was out of the nest the next day after the photos I did of her on the 14th). This morning she and Mama owl were sitting on a branch outside the nest. Virginia is developing horns.
The first line of Only The Good Dye Young, by Billy Joel, is “Come out, Virginia, don’t let me wait”. When I checked on this mama owl that has a nest in a cottonwood about a 3/4 of a mile north of us last week, it was cold and the owlet was trying to get under its Mama; therefore, all I got were photos of its fluffy tail end. This afternoon Mama was sitting on the edge of the nest, and I could see the tip top of the owlet’s fuzzy head. Since the binomial name for Great Horned Owls is Bubo virginianus, I borrowed the line from Billy Joel and said “Come out, Virginia, don’t make me wait.” As I changed my position under the cottonwood, I saw an eye peak out from one side of the “V” at the edge of the nest. From there, the owlet and Mama got into a variety of cute poses for me. They we quite animated in the bright, hot sun.
I didn’t think Great Horned Owls used the same nesting spot two years in a row, but this pair of owls proved me wrong.