The Great Horned Owl Next Door

December 18, 2012 · 4 comments

Steve and Lisa call him “Dumptruck,” due to the prodigious loads of waste he crafts from various bits of local mice, rabbits, other birds and, sometimes, even skunks. He then personally transports said waste to the floor of the open roofed shed where they store their trash cans.

Great Horned Owl

Dumptruck is a huge great horned owl.

He’s an altogether impressive and fierce transporter of monster owl poopage, sitting at close to two feet tall with a wingspan of almost five feet.

According to the evidence, Dumptruck most be a fierce and successful hunter with a mighty appetite. We’re keeping a close eye on Winston.

Great Horned Owl

We are delighted to have made his acquaintance, glorious slayer of skunks that he is, although he did scare the schmidt out of Rick who was loading some trash into a can the first time Dumptruck emerged from the shadows of the shed and soared three feet over his head. Rick doesn’t startle easily, but… I heard the yelp from next door.

Sometimes the distance made possible by a good pair of binoculars is better. We’ve been known to extend a lunch hour or two hanging out on our north porch watching the red tail hawks hunting with our cheapo little [easyazon-link asin=”B000051ZOA” locale=”us”]Bushnell “Falcon” binoculars[/easyazon-link]. (Really… that’s what they’re called, but they work just fine for hawks. And the night sky. And owls.)

Great Horned Owl in Flight

It’s really something to watch Dumptruck enter his final landing approach.

Great Horned Owl

Rotate flaps…

Great Horned Owl

… engage landing gear…

Great Horned Owl

… touchdown!

Great Horned Owl

Steve and Lisa inform us that Dumptruck has a lady friend, one “Mrs. Jones.”
They are building a nest for the couple, since apparently great horned owls don’t build their own: they only steal them.

It’s more fun that way.

Great Horned Owl

Oh, don’t be shy, Dumpie… Even the bees do it, I’m told, although I’m not sure that’s technically accurate.

I just researched this. Bees do actually do it, although the nitty-gritty specifics are still a bit hazy for me. It’s probably best that way.

I love how writing this blog keeps me on my scientific toes.

Great Horned Owl

I keep waiting for Dumptruck to bring me a letter.

Great Horned Owl

Seriously? Do I look like a friggin’ mail man to you?
I am Bubo Virginianus, and don’t you forget it!

Magpie

Yes, sir.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristie Pham December 18, 2012 at 1:06 pm

Incredible pictures!

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Nancy Renzullo December 18, 2012 at 12:24 pm

Serendipity. George and I were swooped by a bat (small, brown myotis) night before last, and I commented:
“Well, it’s nothing like being ‘swooped’ by an owl at night – *do* they have good night vision?” Which prompted a long discussion on birds, nightvision – fiction or fact?

Suffice it to say -,I’ve had the pleasure of being a bit too close to Owl talons at night. They are awesome, majestic birds … But probably not keen on night travel (the world according to George).

So glad the pterodactyl are extinct ;).

I would love to see Rick paint this one … The photos are outstanding.

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Sandi Fentiman December 18, 2012 at 9:59 am

Great pics there. I think I would have done a bit more than yelping, having a big bird fly over me all of a sudden!! I bet no bird argues with Dumptruck.

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