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Great-Horned Owl

Last weekend we spent two days birding Deseret Ranch with Bill Fenimore (who gives tours if you’re interested).  We spent the first day with another birder who asked us why we chose to bird a place that we were just at last May.  Well, with 220,000 acres, there was still a lot to see.

There’s plant life, there are White-Tailed Prairie Dogs…by the way if you want to read some fantastic blogs on prairie dogs, check out Julie Zickefoose’s articles.  She’s completely in love with Black-Tailed Prairie Dogs.

Aren’t they adorable?  They would come out of their holes to watch us drive by.  I was most impressed by their ability to avoid cars.  They only crossed the road when there was plenty of time.  Unlike squirrels, ahem.

So Saturday morning we drive onto the ranch and stop at a barn.  Two minutes into the birding trip, we stop at this barn where Bill saw an owl.  We peek through the window and see the outline of an owl in the darkness.  Bill goes to the side and opens the door, which causes the owl to fly to the window and bam:

Great-Horned Owl.  And then he looked at us.

Look at those ear tufts!  Here’s a view of the back of his head.

This was an excellent start to the birding trip and it got better from there.

2 Responses to “Great-Horned Owl”

  1. Tiffany says:

    Possibly ridiculous ear tuft question…. is there anything “helping” give the tuft shape (cartilage) or is it straight feather architecture?

    I love these owl pictures. Prairie dog is cute too.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    The ear tufts are made completely out of feathers. They can also move them to convey emotions, such as lying flat when the owl is irritated.