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Great Gray Owl

Tony LePrieur photographed this Great Gray Owl hunting near Priddis, SW of Calgary, on Christmas Eve 2017.

Great Gray Owl, Priddis area, December 24, 2017. Photographed by Tony LePrieur.

Great Gray Owl, Priddis area, December 24, 2017. Photographed by Tony LePrieur.

To see more of Tony’s photos, go to his Flickr page.

 

Some Winter Owls

Michael Kim took these photos of a Great Gray Owl and a Snowy Owl in early winter.

Great Gray Owl, Bow Valley Parkway, November 2017.

Great Gray Owl, Bow Valley Parkway, November 2017.

Great Gray Owl, Bow Valley Parkway, November 2017.

Snowy Owl, Airdrie, December 2017.

Snowy Owl, Airdrie, December 2017.

 

Pygmy-Owl and Woodpeckers at Bebo Grove

Yesterday, December 2, 2017, Tony LePrieur photographed some birds at Bebo Grove in Fish Creek Provincial Park, SW Calgary.

Northern Pygmy-Owl with Meadow Vole, Bebo Grove, December 2, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

Northern Pygmy-Owl, Bebo Grove, December 2, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

Pileated Woodpecker (male), Bebo Grove, December 2, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

American Three-toed Woodpecker, Bebo Grove, December 2, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

 

Baby Owls of Burnsmead

This spring a family of Great Horned Owls nested in the Burnsmead area of Fish Creek Provincial Park. Max Ortiz Aguilar got these photos of the family after the young had hatched and were almost ready to start branching.

Great Horned Owls – mother with two downy young. Burnsmead, April 16, 2017.

Photo by Max Ortiz Aguilar.

Great Horned Owl, male standing guard by the nest, Burnsmead, April 16, 2017.

Photo by Max Ortiz Aguilar.

To see more of Max’s wildlife photos, go to his site, Photos by MOA.

Great Gray Owl with Pocket Gopher

Correction: The unfortunate rodent is a Northern Pocket Gopher, not a Meadow Vole. Pocket Gophers are the ones that make mounds of  loose soil above their underground burrows. The soil mounds are commonly seen, but the animals themselves rarely venture above ground. When they do, it is usually at night and they don’t go more than a few feet from the mound. Hence they are rarely seen – this is the first photo of one from the Calgary area that I’ve seen. – Bob Lefebvre

Tony LePrieur got this great shot of a Great Gray Owl with a captured Northern Pocket Gopher recently near Calgary.

Great Gray Owl, Turner Valley area SW of Calgary, July 3, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

Great Gray and Short-eared Owls

On a good day in the Calgary area you can see four or five species of owls (seven on a great day). Here are two that are not seen within the city limits too often, but can be found by making a short drive east or south (for Short-eared Owls) or west (for Great Gray Owls). We usually don’t reveal exact locations of owls so you’ll have to do a little searching for them. Photos by Tony LePrieur.

Short-eared Owl, east of Calgary, March 12, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

Short-eared Owl, east of Calgary, March 12, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

Great Gray Owl, west of Calgary, April 9, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

Great Gray Owl, west of Calgary, April 9, 2017. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

To see more of Tony’s photos, visit his Flickr page.

Barred Owl Baby

Here is a juvenile Barred Owl photographed by Kim Selbee near Bragg Creek, SW of Calgary, on September 13, 2016.

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Below is an adult Barred Owl Kim photographed two years ago in the Alder Park Loop, near Bragg Creek Provincial park, a short distance from where the juvenile was.

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Sunday Showcase: Long-eared Owls

Posted by Bob Lefebvre

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Adult Long-eared Owl. Photo by Tony LePrieur, Calgary, June 26, 2016.

Long-eared Owls are fairly common in the Calgary area and breed in and around the city, but they are nocturnal and so secretive that many birders go years between sightings. In early summer I was told of a Long-eared Owl nest in the city with young in the nest. Here are some photos of this family taken by several local birders.

(Note: The birds are secretive since they are vulnerable to predation from Great Horned Owls, magpies, ravens, crows, porcupines, and hawks. It is very important when observing them to not give away the location of the nest. This nest was very close to a public pathway.  Although the young have fledged long ago now, the owls may nest in the same area again next year, so I won’t reveal the location. I did share it with Dan Arndt, Andrew Hart, and a couple of young birders who had never seen this species before, but we didn’t want to put undue stress on the birds or draw attention to the location by having too many people go to see them.)

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Adult Long-eared Owl, Calgary, June 9, 2016. Photo by Dan Arndt.

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June 9, 2016, Calgary. Four young were in the nest. Photo by Dan Arndt.

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June 11, 2016. Only one young remained in the nest. We were concerned that they had been predated, so stopped visiting for a while. But later on we saw two fledged young together near the nest, so they may just have fledged at slightly different times. Photo by Dan Arndt.

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Another adult on June 9. They are about 14 inches (36 cm) tall. Photo by Dan Arndt.

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A close-up of one of the young in the nest, June 9, 2016. Photo by Dan Arndt.

On June 26 Andrew Hart and I went to see if the last of the owls had fledged. The nest was empty, but we found two very vocal and active young owls nearby.

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Recently fledged Long-eared Owl, Calgary, June 23, 2016. Photo by Andrew Hart.

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Photo by Andrew Hart.

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Vocalizing fledgling. Photo by Andrew Hart.

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Photo by Andrew Hart.

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Photo by Andrew Hart.

Tony LePrieur had found this same nest independently and visited it a couple of times.

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Long-eared Owl, Calgary, June 26, 2016. This looks like a younger owl than the ones Andrew and I saw three days previously. Photo by Tony LePrieur.

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Vocalizing adult Long-eared Owl, Calgary, June 26, 2016. Photo by Tony LePrieur.