Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Owls at Malheur HQ

Hi! I'm back after a few days in the high desert of southeastern Oregon visiting Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. It was a great trip and we saw about 100 species of birds, 5 species of mammal, and 3 species of reptile in our two days on the refuge and around Burns. Over the next few days I'll be posting photos and you can click on Northwest Nature Nut's blog to find out her side of the story!
Our first stop Monday morning was at the refuge oasis of trees in the sagebrush where many species of migrant songbirds find critical food and water during a long journey. Unfortunately, birding was somewhat slow this day....cold, windy weather. Ugh.
We were on our way back to the car to head out when we heard a Great Horned Owl hooting and turned around to go find it.
Can you find it?

And now?

OK, here it is.....preening before hooting.

A second owl was heard hooting up the hill behind headquarters but the only thing up there was this:

A tall observation tower on top of the hill.
Was the owl perched on it? The hoot had a strong echo to it......could it be INSIDE the tower?
We hiked up the hill to find out.

Yes, it sure was inside.....and did not show itself for anyone. Its hoots echoed down the hill to its mate in the tree and the only sign we saw was a feather and a few pellets.


Max said...

Welcome back! I look forward to seeing more photos from Malheur. I helped with the Audubon trip there last year and wish I could go again..


NW Nature Nut said...

Did I authorize publication of photos of me? Well, I have a few of you, ya know. I am finally getting around to posting any minute now. I was going to do a "can you guess what this feather is from" post, but I guess our shared fans will figure it out if they have read yours. I'll do it anyways, just for fun!