Great Horned Owlet Hiding In Plain Sight

a great horned owl, markham, ontario

Bob and I refrained from visiting the Great Horned Owls in Markham, Ontario, Canada, for a few days.  From another person in the know about the owls’ location, we learned that the Great Horned owlet was becoming increasingly difficult to find.

a great horned owl, markham, ontario

On May 27, our friend messaged us to say that he had located the adult owls but the owlet was nowhere to be seen.  Despite it being early evening, we decided to join him at the Park for a short while.

a great horned owl, markham, ontario

We found the male Great Horned Owl in his favourite tree.  Being a somewhat smaller owl than his counterpart, and with a small head topped by large plumicorns, the male owl was distinguishable from the female.

a great horned owl, markham, ontario

On a tree limb about a hundred feet away, the female Great Horned Owl had taken up a position within sight of the male.

a great horned owl, markham, ontario

The adult Great Horned Owls seemed quite relaxed, the female even sleeping off and on.  It was reassuring to have both of them in close proximity as it suggested that the owlet was nearby.

american crows, markham, ontario

The American Crows had grown quiet over the previous few days, an indication that they were finished raising their young.  Until another set of their own chicks were produced, the Crows no longer saw the owls as a threat.

a great horned owlet, markham, ontario

After chatting some time with our friend, we took another look for the owlet.  Lo and behold, it had been sitting on a tree branch in full view the whole time, hiding in plain sight.

a great horned owlet, markham, ontario

We were rather surprised that the owlet had chosen a branch much lower to the ground than in previous days.

a great horned owlet, markham, ontario

On top of that, the branch appeared faulty.  We were concerned that it would break under the additional weight of one of the adults when it arrived with food for the owlet.

a great horned owlet, markham, ontario

From the time that we first laid eyes on the owlet on May 6, until this visit 21 days later, we could see a marked difference in the size of the owlet.  Its facial disk and plumicorns were developing nicely, and the owlet was taking in all aspects of its surroundings.  After snapping a few photos, Bob and I accompanied our friend on a walk in the Park where Black-billed Cuckoos had been heard and a Baltimore Oriole was making its nest.


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