I went for a walk in the bosque at sunset, and caught the pink on the Sandias — there was not a cloud in the sky. I headed north after sunset and ran into two coyotes on the trail. They perked up when they saw me, then high-tailed it in the opposite direction. Then I saw Virginia perched on a branch. It was nice to see Virginia, I hadn’t seen her in months.
All three owlets to the south of us have been out of the nest since last Saturday. They were all huddled up on a high branch above the nest last night and early this morning. These three should be flying by next week.
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.
If you are old enough to remember Paul Harvey, you will know where the title comes from. While I was waiting for Virginia to come out on Sunday afternoon, I heard Daddy owl hooting in a cottonwood about 100 feet from the tree with the nest. Instead of the hoots we normally hear, that sound something like “whoooo whoo whoo whoooo” in the same volume, tone and intensity, he was doing three or four hoots cut short, followed by three longer more intense hoots — “wht wht wht whoooo whoo whoo”.
When I walked over to see what Daddy owl was up to, he was chewing on something, but I couldn’t see what it was. I walked around the tree trying to see if I could get in a position where I could see what he held in his claws, but I couldn’t see what he had because of how he was perched on the cottonwood. Finally I called out to him “Hey owl, what do you have?” He then proceeded to show me that he had a bird, and made the silliest faces in the process.
I also took a short video of him hooting and gnawing on the bird. I named it Great Horned Owl with Dinner. The video is posted after the last photo. You can hear him hoot, and watch him gnaw on his dinner. I assume he shared his bird with Virginia and Mama Owl, but I can’t say for sure, since I couldn’t stay around long enough to see the rest of that story.
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.