Thursday, February 23, 2012

In Review

In reviewing our trip to California with our friends Dan & Charlene; we were on the road 14 days, stayed in 7 different campgrounds, reported 11 bird lists to eBird, and birded in 7 different counties. Looking back, the most significant sighting was this Californian Great Horned Owl in the Red Bluff Recreation Area.  During a morning bird walk Dan and I had spotted nest building activity by a pair of Yellow-billed Magpies and a pair of Red Shouldered Hawks.  After lunch we went back to see if the Red Shoulder Hawks were still there, and along the route I was checking out other nests, when I noticed a couple of ears sticking out of a nest.  A closer look revealed this owl. We assumed at the time that the owl was just resting from a night’s hunt. Early that evening Dan went for a bike ride and spotted not only the owl on the nest but another owl perched close by.  After reading all I could find, I am now convinced that we had seen a nesting pair.  Great Horned Owls are one of the earliest nesters, mating in late Jan and early Feb. And they don’t even take the time to build a nest, but instead take over an existing nest.  Conveniently in this location, there is a large population of Yellow-billed Magpies which have built nests in lots of trees.  I’m pretty sure we will be back to check on these owls. 

1 comment:

  1. Oh-my, the owls really seem like quite the find!