When I found the Great Horned Owl in the image above on February 16, 2021, I was happy, as I had been hoping to see one in this particular Colorado Springs park (Bear Creek East) for quite a while. I was especially happy because the owl was sitting on a nest. In order to avoid attracting predators, a nest should be inconspicuous, and I thought the owl couple had chosen their nursery well (they typically appropriate nests built by other birds). Even with Mrs. Owl sitting on what I assumed were eggs, she was barely visible, as some of you noted when I showed this photo in a previous post.
I was determined to keep an eye on this nest in hopes of seeing owlets. When I returned on March 23, I saw something white and fluffy next to the adult, but although I waited a while for movement and zoomed in as much as my camera allowed from a distance that did not seem to bother the bird(s), I could not make out if this represented a baby owl or leftover fur from a meal.
Imagine my delight when, on April 5, there was definitive, big-eyed proof that the egg(s) had hatched. Even then, it wasn’t clear to me if the nestling was an only child, or if it had a sibling. The mound in front of the owlet did not budge, but I had a sneaking suspicion…
….which was confirmed on April 28. Hooray! While I always thought the nest was well-camouflaged, it seemed slightly small, and those two owlets had very little room to move. I sincerely hope they will continue to thrive, become strong fledglings, grow to healthy adulthood, and eventually have offspring of their own. 🦉🦉
Great Horned Owls typically nest in trees. Clutch size varies from 1 to 4 eggs. The incubation period is between 30 and 37 days. Only the female incubates the eggs. The nestling period lasts about 42 days (according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Great_Horned_Owl).