Tag: owl

Burrowing Owl at the Salton Sea

Burrowing Owl

We saw this little cutie at the Salton Sea this weekend. We decided to head up for the day and just take a look at the area. I’ve heard it’s a great place to visit for fall migration, but this was the first time this season that I’ve managed to actually make it there. There were lots more birds than we were expecting, but this one was by far by favorite.

If you pick up the birding guide, the cover is a little Burrowing Owl and we all decided that there was no way that we would see one on the trip although we all agreed that it would be the most exciting bird we could see while we were there. On the way back from one of locations (the fresh water reservoir) I caught a quick glance of a bird on the ground. Imagine our surprised when we backed up to see our little friend!

Owl Location

Owl’s hole is in between concrete and dirt next to irrigation ditch. It’s at the corner of the irrigation road and Trifolium Lateral Nine.

He didn’t seem to mind us being there, so we stopped and had a lunch in the car hoping to catch him going back into his hole. He just kept a looking over the broccoli field and would only occasionally glance our way. I was surprised he seemed to care so little that we were there.

I always thought that after seeing a Great Horned Owl in my backyard that it would be my favorite owl, but his one stole my heart. I’m a total Burrowing Owl fan now. In case you want to catch a glance of this cutie and see if he steals your heart too, here is where we found him.

There are more pictures of the other Salton Sea birds to follow, but I couldn’t resist posting this one immediately.

I want it to be cold


Barn owl sketch

Another owl sketch! I’ve been really happy with my new sketching style. I tried to duplicate the streaks that you get on a bird’s chest by loading a very wet brush with a dark brown and applying it to the bird after the whole drawing was dry. This way it doesn’t bleed into the rest of the drawing.

Owl sketches

Some other sketches of me trying out my new technique.

Supplies used: Sakura Micron Ink PensPrismacolor Watercolor PencilsPentel Arts Aquash Water BrushesMoleskine Art Plus Watercolor Album

Owl love you always

Owl love you

I’m still trying to develop my sketching style and I think I might have settled on something that I really like. I start out with a very basic pencil sketch, then I do an outline and fill in the lines with a Micron pens. After that, I erase the original pencil sketch and then go back over the other lines to make them darker and to give it a sketchier feeling. I add color with the Prismacolor Watercolor Pencils by pulling the color directly off of them with an Aquash Water Brush instead of sketching the color directly to the page. You end up getting a more subtle color, but it allows for better gradients.

Supplies used: Sakura Micron Ink PensPrismacolor Watercolor PencilsPentel Arts Aquash Water BrushesMoleskine Art Plus Watercolor Album

Great Horned Owl Attacked by a Murder of Crows

Great Horned Owl

My husband and I were out gardening when a murder of six crows flew overhead making the largest racket. Right as I turned my head, a mangle of powerful wings crash land onto a pine tree in my neighbor’s backyard. Once the crows flew away, I saw there was a Great Horned Owl left in the branches in nursing it’s wounds. Immediately, the crows took turns dive-bombing the poor owl for the next hour or so. The owl stood firm and unmoving the entire time.

I was intrigued by the crows’ flight patterns. Two crows sat in adjacent trees cawing to the others flying in the air. The airborne four would circle around and start their attacks after the other two started making noise. I’m not sure if the other two were lookouts or they were there to signal when to attack. In either case, it seemed highly organized.

Then the team would take turns diving at the owl, each time coming in from a slightly different direction in attempts to get a better shot. Although their aim appeared to decline the longer they attacked, they did seem to rotate strategies to see what would be the most effective.

However, the owl had picked an optimal spot to rest because the crows could never get a good shot. The owl lost a feather once, but that appeared to be the only damage it received. That’s what I thought at least until I got a closer look at the photographs on my computer. Look at the difference in the two eyes in the photo below.

Owl with Eye Issue

I’m not sure if the crows did this, but one of the owl’s eyes is extremely dilated which might be why it never tried to escape. I can’t seem to find any information about this kind of eye issue in birds online. Even though I’m concerned for the owl, I’m also excited because this is the best view I’ve gotten of the owls in my neighborhood. They frequent the trees across the street during the fall and you can hear them hooting around Halloween (which has been a delight). I know that there are at least two in the area during the fall, but I’ve never been able to see them any other time of year.

If you have any ideas as to what is causing the dilated eye, please let me know. It seemed to stay dilated the entire time it was here, even an hour after the crows left. I managed to take a quick video of it flying away. I removed the audio because all you could hear was my dog barking.