Backyard Visitor

IMG_7869I was surprised and delighted to see this handsome fellow, a Great Horned Owl, in our backyard today.  They aren’t very common in our woods to my knowledge. In the twenty-seven years that I’ve lived here, I’ve seen only one. More often, I hear and occasionally see, Barred Owls.

I heard him first a few weeks ago, hooting down towards the river and yesterday, I was alerted to his presence by several crows mobbing him perched in the brush across the river. No crows in sight today, so we had a quiet visit before he flew off into the woods.

About Eliza Waters

Gardener, writer, photographer, naturalist
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106 Responses to Backyard Visitor

  1. How wonderful to see this. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Val Boyko says:

    First impression … Lovely shot!
    Thinking … Thank goodness it wasn’t that bear!

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thanks, Val! Ha, that ol’ bear has been around, leaving his calling card on the trails and knocking over the compost bin, but no real harm done.

  3. arlingwoman says:

    Gorgeous. What a treat to see like this–and to hear at night.

  4. Jet Eliot says:

    What a complete delight for you, Eliza. Great photo too!

  5. An exciting sighting. Very nice!

  6. cindy knoke says:

    I have several on my roof every night and have yet to get decent shots of them. They are so elusive, so bravo on this shot!

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thank you, Cindy. I guess I got lucky! What was surprising is that this was mid-day and he was wide awake. Seems late for breeding, but maybe not?

  7. pastpeter says:

    Congrats on hearing, seeing and photographing this beauty! Most of us would be happy to do one of these!

  8. Widdershins says:

    A Messenger! 😀

  9. MK says:

    Lucky you. When he’s done visiting you, send him out my way!

    • Eliza Waters says:

      🙂 That’d be quite the long flight! I have seen many in FL when I visited, but not so many around here, although, they are supposedly throughout the States. Maybe our habitat isn’t open enough for them??

  10. Mrs. Brown says:

    What a portrait! Looking right at you. What a treat.

  11. So awesome, they are kind of magical, such a special treat to see them around.

  12. How cool! I’ve seen a few in the wild, but none around here.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      It seems he’s been hanging around here for a while. Maybe he’ll stay. Though I hear they are pretty fierce predators – glad my cats are indoor kitties! :O

  13. Jim R says:

    That’s terrific. We had one a few weeks ago, too. The crows went crazy then gave up and flew away. The owl stayed most of the day.

  14. Love owls! Lucky you Eliza to have such a rare visit. 🍀

  15. Kris P says:

    Out in daylight?! I hear the owls here but the closest I’ve come to seeing one was a sillhouette visible from my office window at night.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Yes, rather rare to see one during the day. Another blogger commented that it means they aren’t finding enough food at night and must continue to forage. It could mean it has owlets demanding food!

  16. Magnificent creature! I read up the description on your link Eliza to get a sense of it’s size and so enjoyed hearing the recorded call. So exciting having one calling. Hope he/ she stays around awhile for you.

  17. Anne says:

    What a privilege to have an owl visit your garden! I too hope that it will stay for a while.

  18. What a fantastic visitor… he looks a bit grumpy though, probably because of the papparazo 🙂 Great photo!

  19. What a great visitor you have!

  20. maureenc says:

    What a handsome fellow! Lucky you. Thank you for sharing

  21. Good shot. We want one

  22. Chloris says:

    Oh what a beauty. And well done on a fantastic shot.

  23. Cathy says:

    How wonderful to have such a good look at him and get a photo too!

  24. Alice Pratt says:

    Awesome experience. I hope you get to see it, again! I hear them sometimes, at night, dueting…hooting together. I’ve seen two, captive, because they’d been injured. One was at Drumlin Farm, near Concord, MA, when I was a child. We would walk around it’s cage. It would turn it’s head as far as it could and then turn it back and watch us. There is one at South Shore Science Center in Norwell, MA. I listened to the Barred Owl recording, Eliza….it sounds like a monkey!

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thank you, Alice. I do love to hear the hooting at night, esp. in summer when the windows are open.
      We have a raptor rehabilitation center here in town. He has all sorts of hawks, eagles and owls. Many are victims of car strikes. If they can be released, they go back to same exact spot where found. Others live out their lives in captivity, as they can no longer fend for themselves. Not a bad life, they are well cared for.

  25. He is a handsome fellow! You did him justice with such a spectacular photo!

  26. Brenda says:

    Oh, lucky you! To see him AND to get a good shot–wow. We occasionally see or hear barred and saw-whet owls here, but not the great horned. George read something recently that said that when you see an owl out in the middle of the day, it usual means there’s a shortage of food for them and they are having to resort to day-time hunting. Not sure if that’s the case this time of year, but interesting.

  27. Laurie Graves says:

    Magnificent! Yes, a real treat to not only see this beauty but to get such a great shot.

  28. Kathy Sturr says:

    Wonderful! Lucky you! There are so many Great Horned Owls in my winter home and l love to sleep to their calls. The male will call Wha hoo hoo hoooo and the female will answer hoo hoo. I’ve heard an owl at the lake but not so far this year. Can’t remember what kind. All owls are welcome!

    • Eliza Waters says:

      It seems auspicious. I do love their deep hooting. However, learning that they kill other owls, ospreys and falcons, I now have some reservations…

      • Kathy Sturr says:

        Yes, Eliza I’ve heard that they are quite aggressive. Here, they disrupt the nesting terns so they set up “decoys” to deter the owls. One year I helped paint tern decoys – fun! They also eat snakes and skunks! In CK there are now Osprey nesting in an old Horned Owl nest and one day I saw the owl waiting and staring down the Osprey but they continued to nest there so they must be fairly matched. Nature’s like that, eh?

  29. Christina says:

    Oh Wow! We have a Little Owl, who lives mostly on our roof but nothing as big as your Horned Owl comes into the garden.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      It must be fun to have one on the roof (unless he keeps you up all night). This one seems small to me (perhaps a male), but they can get quite large, our largest owl here in NA.

  30. InfiniteZip says:

    stunningly beautiful creature ❤

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thank you, Kim. You have many of them in FL, so maybe not so unusual to you. 🙂

      • InfiniteZip says:

        I haven’t seen any owls down here yet, but did see a few manatees at the Jetty last night at sunset….I love the sea creatures, dolphins, etc….but owls, love the colors and their voices 🙂

  31. We had a Great Horned or two on our Maine land. Miss seeing them – so beautiful!

  32. Murtagh's Meadow says:

    How exciting to have such a handsome visitor. I wonder if the long-eared owls we had last year will return this year?

  33. Peter/Outlaw says:

    Very exciting indeed. I’ve never seen an wild owl in person but would be absolutely giddy if I were you.

  34. ladyfi says:

    What an amazing shot.

  35. naturebackin says:

    Great that it stayed during your stealthy approach. What a privilege. Happy coincidence to see this post after I have just posted on the effect of rat poisons on owls and other raptors.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      I know, I noted the coincidence! I feel fortunate to live in a rural area that has a lot of wild land that has been reforested since the 50s. The wildlife has rebounded since I was a kid.

  36. srickman2014 says:

    What a great capture of such a handsome guy!

  37. Great shot and what a beauty. Hope that you enjoyed your quiet communion!

  38. Maggie says:

    I am so jealous!! I want to photograph an owl in the wild. Great photo.

  39. Brian Skeys says:

    Ooooh, congratulations on capturing the picture.

  40. Wonderful photo and what a delightful visitor! I love owls and I’m still hoping for a chance to see one in the wild. I hope he plans on visiting you through summer!

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thank you! As they are usually nocturnal, I felt lucky to see this one mid-day, not a common occurrence. I hope to hear them calling at least some nights.

  41. Rebecca says:

    Oh, how wonderful to have this visitor to your garden, Eliza. We occasionally get visited by tawny frogmouths at our house in Aldinga, and I always get very excited when I see them. They are a nightjar, rather than an owl, and they make glorious low hooting/whooping calls. They look a bit like Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street! But I have never managed to photograph them — well done on capturing your owl x

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thank you, Rebecca. It was a rare sighting– we can get quite happy silly about such things!
      I looked up tawny frogmouths – they’re cute!

      • Rebecca says:

        Yes, they are, aren’t they? They quite often huddle together in a family row on the same branch of a tree. Whenever we catch sight of or hear the frogmouths in our neighbourhood, we always say to each other, ‘Oscar’s back!’ x

  42. Christy B says:

    Such a magnificent creature! Thank you for sharing this special moment with us 🙂

  43. WOW … what a beauty and fantastic capture! I love the setting and composition too.

  44. Robin says:

    How fortunate for you! He is a beautiful bird, and your capture is amazing. So glad you could share him with us. 🙂

  45. Wow, what a beautiful owl and a great shot if you were the one the took the photo. Animals are super hard to photograph! I’ve never seen in own in “real life” ha ha. ❤

  46. Jewels says:

    Owls are so cool, such amazing creatures, how fun to find one in your yard! Great shot you captured too Eliza! 🙂

  47. This is such a gorgeous photo, Eliza! Thank you for sharing this. I’m hearing more people say they are seeing these near their homes. Perhaps they are growing in numbers 🙂

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