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.
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.
The three owlets south of us are doing the same routine as the three owlets did last year — the two older owlets are getting out of the nest leaving the runt stuck in the nest.
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.