Last night I was camped out along a rugged logging road deep in the boreal forest of Alberta. It was a foggy drizzly day rendering the dense forest especially foreboding and mysterious. In the late afternoon a pair of ravens winged overhead and erupted in to their guttural raucous calls somewhere not too far off in the trees. Almost immediately, a pair of Great Horned Owls began to emphatically duet with their deep hooting calls in the same area. Suspecting the owls may be protesting the ravens presence near their nest or young I grabbed a camera and set off to investigate. I wove my way through the dense forest of lichen encrusted spruces, jack pines and larch toward the hooting owls. Eventually I entered a grove of large aspens and perched ahead of me were two fledgling Great Horned Owls.
The adults were nearby but elusive. They had stopped hooting in earnest as the ravens had departed but occasionally I heard them utter soft hoots in conversation with each other and I caught glimpses of their pale ghostly forms as they winged through the forest behind several layers of trees – always keeping a safe distance from me and limiting my line of site on them. Finally I saw one perch and crept over the soft carpet of mosses underfoot to a spot where I was obstructed but had a clear view of the owl through a gap in the tree I was under.
Tags: Great Horned Owl