NOTE: This observation is a continuation of a previous post. The earlier article can be found here: Great Horned Owl – VCDB Nests Update 8
These pictures come to us from Brent Franklin. Brent has also been keeping an eye on the VCDB Great Horned Owl nest this spring, and has been taken some nice pictures of the growing owlets.
The owl’s nests at the Village Creek Drying Beds are located in the middle of a Great Blue Heron rookery. Dozens of the large wading birds have built their nests in the trees surrounding the swampy area at the entrance to the VCDB.
The Great Horned Owls have certainly taken over a heron nest for their own use. This is typical Great Horned Owls behavior, and it is thought that the owls do not build their own nests.
So there they sit, one of North America mightiest avian predators, in the midst of dozens of helpless heron chicks and vulnerable adults. With this kind of situation, it is natural to wonder if the owls hunt and feed on the herons.
These pictures possibly answer that question. Brent tells me that the owlets in this picture are very likely feeding on a Great Blue Heron chick. Unfortunately, while I do have faith in Brent’s skill as an observer, I have to consider these pictures inconclusive. I just cannot see enough detail to make a positive identification of the prey animal.
Nonetheless, the photographs are still very interesting in their own right, as they show the owlets feeding themselves without assistance from their mother.
NOTE: This observation is continued here: Great Horned Owl – VCDB Nests the End
|Date||–||Mar 20, 2013|
|Time of Day||–||Morning|
|Type of Behavior||–||Care of Young|
|Main Article||–||Great Horned Owl||Observation Location|