Great Horned Owl Debut

May 2, 2013

This week’s post features the debut of a great horned owlet that recently fledged from a tall sycamore tree at Shaw Nature Reserve. I was wandering around looking for the nest, my neck bent back and my eyes toward the trees, when I almost stepped on this little fella. Apparently, it had fledged the night before and decided to spend the night on the trail where I was walking. Although I’m pretty sure I could have picked the fuzzy little critter up and given it some cheek kisses, I quickly put some distance between me and the trusting creature before I began photographing it with a borrowed Canon 7D and my trusty 300 mm lens. I didn’t even need my brand new 1.4 TC as my subject was so close. After I made some nice photographs I looked up in the trees and found the owlet’s sibling looking down at me from a flimsy platform high in a nearby sycamore. The second owlet looked very curious, if not jealous, of all the activity below.

The next morning I returned to the site and found the owlet perched at the base of a cypress tree on a little island in a nearby pond. The setting made for some nice images, two of which I’ve featured in this post. The second owlet was still in the sycamore but finally fledged later in the week. I haven’t been back to the site to check on these camouflaged beauties but I’m confident that they are safe and sound, under the watchful eyes of mom and dad, in the forest of Shaw Nature Reserve.


As for an update on my camera situation, I have my 500/4 lens back home with a fresh Internal Stabilization mechanism. I doubt I would have noticed that the function was destroyed in the mishap as I rarely ever use stabilization. As a devoted tripod user, I seldom need such a gizmo.

Hopefully, the next time you hear from me I’ll have my battle-scarred but cherished 1D4 back, and yes I know it would be a good idea to have a backup camera next time. I had two backup cameras for awhile but they just gathered dust. The camera types among you will understand that it is difficult to use another camera after you have been using a 1D—the Ferrari/Toyota analogy applies here… disrespect intended to Toyotas. Having said that, I suppose it’s time to rethink my situation regarding a backup camera as I continue to get older…..and clumsier. If I could only afford two 1D’s! Ahhh……the seed has been planted. I know Joyce reads these.

Thanks for looking,


Great Horned Owlet #1:  Canon EOS 7D; Canon 300/4 L IS; 1/50th @ f/4.0; ISO 400; RAW Capture; Feisol CT3301 Tripod with Markins M-10 Head; Converted and processed in Canon DPP

Great Horned Owlet #2:  Canon EOS 7D; Canon 300/4 L IS; 1/125th @ f/5.6; ISO 400; RAW Capture; Feisol CT3301 Tripod with Markins M-10 Head; Converted and processed in Canon DPP


New Publication:  If you’d like to read my latest story in Missouri Conservationist about my interesting encounter with a yellow-crowned night-heron you can find it here.

8 comments on “Great Horned Owl Debut”

  1. So happy you featured this little fellow! You were “wise” to put some distance between you and the little one and keep a watchful eye out for mom and dad, as they can be very protective of their young ones. Their curious and cat-like behaviors are fun to watch! Glad you came across this bundle of fluff! “Great” capture, Danny!

  2. Nice not to need your teleconverter..and nice to know you have a brand new one! …Thanks for the fledgling…and what about dropping the 7D and making seven 1Ds (I know Joyce will also read this…)

    I do wonder why most owls seem, often, to close one eye? Well, it makes Wee Willie Winkie look extra cute!

  3. That was a wonderful find along the trail. Great photos.

    • Thanks Lyle….I had a heads up from SNR staff that a nest was nearby. Have a great weekend.

  4. Hi Danny, what a beautiful photo of that little fluffy owlet. He looks as though he has his winter coat on. Really neat to see such a commanding creature up close. I also want to congratulate you on the GREAT story, and photo of that Yellow-Crowned Night Heron, in the May issue of Missouri Conservationist. That is such a neat poise. He looks as though he is going to bow for his performance. I loved it. Keep up the good work.


    • Thanks for continuing to follow my work Art and I appreciate the comments on the article as well. Take care.

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