Great Horned Owl, pencil rendering
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The past couple days brings doubt to the Groundhog's ability to predict spring but I still definitely wouldn't bank on winter's effects being through for the year. However, it is now truly spring for some in the neighborhood here at Prairie Hill Farm!
An old favorite from many years ago is now raising their spring family in the neighborhood. Seems crazy but the Great Horned Owls start nesting as early as late January! Georgie and I have been seeing and hearing the GHO's in the yard and along the valley the past 2-3 weeks; they're becoming more vocal and active around here and whether or not that corresponds to their nesting habits I don't know but we've now entered the egg laying and hatching time for these great birds.
I've been stuck on Great Horned Owls since I can barely remember and they've been a favored subject in my artwork off and on for a long time, as I've mentioned in past blogs. But this idealistic view is not shared by many and I do understand others point of view.
Great Horned Owls are big and brazen critters. They've been known to harass Bald Eagles and to kill other birds of prey, such as other owls and even hawks. Our favorite little Screech Owl is always in danger of the GHO's. A bird of this size, and with a rough demeanor can bring a tough night's sleep for many larger birds!
But these are really cool looking birds aren't they! I think so. And the sound of a Great Horned or a pair of them is sweet music to listen to at night or just prior to dawn. Its primordial. There's a sense of wildness in those voices but I'm also glad I'm not another bird trying to get some shut eye...wondering if I've been spotted and if that GHO is in a bad mood or not!
The Great Horned Owls are optimistic birds, why else would they be setting up house and raising kids already!? I'm trying to be optimistic too! Can spring be just around the corner??!!