Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Close Encounter

On my way to Canada this summer, I stopped for a couple of days in Bend, Oregon, to visit a dear friend of mine. On my first night, on my way to my sleeping quarters, I heard a piercing screech right next to me. After the first moment of shock, I got curious, which bird would dare to come so close. Looking around I saw this juvenile Great Horned Owl sitting on a post not two yards away. My first thought was:"Where is my camera?", but of course it was pitch dark.

So I started to talk to the bird. After listening to me for a few seconds, the owl started to "talk back" with clicking noises and hopped down from its perch to inspect me even closer. It hopped over to me and started to gently nip my pants.

What an experience!

As I told this story the next morning to my friend, she wouldn't believe that she actually had a "semi tame" owl in her backyard. This time with my camera ready, I walked out and started to make clicking noises, and in no time the owl would respond with loud screeches. After calling the local wild bird center, to see if we might have a runaway, we learned that this juvenile Great Horned Owl probably just left the nest and now might be trying to beg for food. We were advised not to feed or handle it.

If you have a close look at the above and the last image, you might see that it's right eye looks not quite healthy. I believe it might have had difficulties hunting due to it's impaired vision.

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