Sunday, June 22, 2008

Owls in the Orchard

On Sunday, June 15, Zach was playing in our apricot orchard and came running in saying, "Gramma, there's an owl in your tree!" (Ya, right) Sure enough there was. Not only one, but three, and then eventually we spotted five. They didn't seemed frightened by the antics of seven people milling around. I grabbed my camera and took a few shots.

The most I could get in one shot was four of them. They were doing their best to look like part of the tree.

They did not move, except to follow me with their eyes. When I moved around back of them, they tipped over to keep me in sight. They stayed for close to 30 minutes. I ran into the house to load the photos on the computer and when I went back out, they were gone. I believe they are Western Screech Owls. At least that's the closest I could come with my bird book.


Liripoop said...

Have you checked your fireplace for letters from Hogwarts?

Tristan said...

Love owls. They are the coolest!

Ahenobarbus Textor said...

Woohoo! What fun! Yup, you pegged the species perfectly: Otus kennicottii (grey morph). What's more, by looking at the plumage you can tell that these guys are juveniles. I'd guess that they've only been fully fledged for no more than a month (you can still see some of the fluff from their downy phase). Two main items will change in their appearance if they roost in your orchard next year: first, their ear-tufts will be better defined; second, their barring will be vertical, whereas now the barring is horizontal.

Since they were all together my guess is that they're all siblings who haven't developed a healthy fear of humans quite yet. How exciting for you!