Two Great Horned Owlets, with their fuzzy coats, are in plain sight along Lakeshore Path by the Willow Creek mounds. John Kutzbach of the Friends, along with many others, has been out every day to watch the owl family. This Saturday morning the owlets were huddling together again, watched by the parent. Then one of the fledglings fluttered its wings mightily and flew back to the parent.
The owlets are the offspring of the Preserve's Great Horned Owl pair that nested again this year in a hollow tree near the owl nest box behind DeJope Hall that Faye Lorenzsonn installed as a research project. They are rapidly changing from fluffy white to more adult cameouflage colors, and these cuddly yet wild and fierce looking owlets are beginning to use their flight feathers. Yet, they'll keep begging for food for a considerable time.
Hannah Deporter, a UW student in Trish O'kane's Nelson Institute Urban Wildlife class, also captured a digiscope picture of one of the owlets, on a walk along the path with Paul Noeldner. Great Horned Owls (Bubo Virginianus) are large owls 16-32 inches high. The owlets appear to be 8-12 inches high when all fluffed up. Come and see yourself, but please observe this beautiful urban wildlife from a respectful distance so they can engage in necessary hunting, feeding and resting behavior.
Gisela Kutzbach and contributors