Return of the Great Horned Owls and Others

by Dan Weisz

I continue to visit the three juvenile Great Horned Owls living in a patio a few miles west of me in the Catalina Foothills.  Some mornings they are gone, but usually I find them resting in their safe place.

Tuesday morning after our first good, drenching rain, two of the owls were in a mesquite tree rather than on the fan.  The third probably was caught in the rain and found shelter in the desert somewhere.

A close-up of the photo above shows how wet this owl got.  It is staring into the desert.

He took one look at us and flew off.  Each of the three owls has a different personality.  One is very skittish.  I think that’s the one that did not return Tuesday morning.  The ‘middle’ owl is also nervous and may fly off after a bit.  He looked over at us and then took off.

The third owl is the most relaxed, or most confident, or least likely to fly, and it remained hidden in the mesquite tree.  We could barely make it out, and it probably felt it was well hidden from us.

Walking around in the desert beyond the back yard wall, we could catch a quick glimpse of the owl’s face in a few spots.  It just stared at us but never budged, so we left it while looking forward to our next visit.  You can see it also was very wet from the night’s rains.

Switching to something different, at Sweetwater Wetlands last week, the Wednesday Audubon group had a terrific flyover by a juvenile White Ibis.  Its normal range is the coastal wetlands of Florida and along the Gulf of Mexico.  They are also present along the coasts of southern Mexico.  This was a rare sighting and, besides our group, nobody else in the county appears to have seen this bird.  It probably flew in on a storm front.

At Tohono Chul Park, a female Costa’s Hummingbird preened on the end of a branch.  She’s got a bit of pollen from flowers on her bill.  These hummingbirds may be seen in the foothills.

Also at Tohono Chul, a Lesser Goldfinch sits among wet leaves while waiting a turn on the nyger seed feeder.  If you want to attract these birds, by a seed sock and fill it with thistle seeds (nyger seeds).  The goldfinches are sure to appear.

Web presentation by Douglas Everett @ Hummingbird Market