Wild Visitor

by wjw on October 15, 2011

I was alone in the deserted Snow Bear lodge, but I thought I heard someone moving around, and on the assumption it was the landlord, I went looking for him.  Instead I found this golden-eyed beauty perched on the rear balcony.

A brief web search indicates that this is a Great Horned Owl, though if any informed strigiphiles care to correct me, they are welcome.

The owl made to fly away as I rounded the corner, but as soon as he realized I wasn’t advancing on him, he settled down and settled for keeping me under observation.

I chatted with him in a low voice, and told him that he was on the wrong side of the building, because the ground squirrels were very active out front, in the parking lot.

Occasionally he’d tip me a long, slow wink, as if he realized he was in on the joke.

Other than a pod— flock?— of four mule deer, (and of course the ground squirrels) this was about it for nature this time around.  The snow seemed to have driven everything to sunnier climes, or at least their dens.

Nevertheless I enjoyed three lengthy trail hikes in the sunny weather, though I stuck to lower trails where last week’s snow had (mostly) melted.

Now I’m back, and have returned to the daily—  if not hourly—  grind.

Oz October 15, 2011 at 3:06 pm


Shash October 15, 2011 at 6:47 pm

I believe that is a Lesser Horned Owl because the horns are not very prominent and the coloring matches. Oz is right, beautiful. You are a lucky guy.

wjw October 16, 2011 at 3:40 am

I don’t think it’s a Lesser Horned Owl, because if so, it’s a long way from home— they only live in South America.

Further research suggests that it’s a Rocky Mountain Great Horned Owl, which is an ill-defined subspecies that’s native to the area.

A search for photos online reveals the Baja Great Horned Owl, which looks just like this one, except that it lives only in a small part of Baja California.

Shash October 17, 2011 at 10:15 pm

I sit corrected. I did not realize they were only a S.A. species. Perhaps I should verify my hunches before I post them? 🙂

wjw October 18, 2011 at 6:07 am

The Internet is the place to go for misinformation, Shash . . . you were only doing your job.

Oz October 19, 2011 at 1:08 pm

Frost sent this one around…did you see it?


Footage of an owl landing, straight at the camera.

wjw October 19, 2011 at 9:14 pm

Oz, that video is awesome. Particularly when the claws flash out.

I’d hate to be a chipmunk in the path of =that=.

Bruce Arthurs October 20, 2011 at 12:13 am

At the office/shopping development where I pull a graveyard shift for Security, we have an owl (I believe it’s a “Big Fucking Owl”, or something like that) who occasionally visits and sits on the top corners of the buildings. Closest I’ve seen him first-hand has been about fifty feet, though we’ve gotten close-ups of him on some of the security cameras a few times.

He visited more frequently when the buildings were still under construction, and the supply yard was a good place to find rats and occasional baby bunnies. He’s a cool bird.

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