I met this juvenile Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) thanks to some boisterously loud Blue Jays. The three of them were so raucous that they alerted the entire woodland to the owl’s presence. After ten minutes of incessant squawking the annoyed owl finally left its perch and flew to the top of a nearby pine tree.
Unfortunately, the owl’s situation did not improve after relocating. The jays received help in their mission to drive away the apex predator from a persistent and fearless crow. The master aerialist pestered the owl with multiple strafing runs. I felt fortunate to catch some of the action.
Sadly, I lowered my camera when the crow pulled up and flew away. As I soon discovered, the crow was making way for larger reinforcements, in the form of a pair of noisy and determined Red-tailed Hawks. Unlike the crow, the raptors were going for full contact. Rather like the difference between flag football and regular football.
After the second dive bomb, the owl awkwardly crashed into the shelter of the thick branches below. Message delivered, the hawks circled one more time while screeching before wheeling away into the sky.
I think the owl and I both learned something that day. I doubt it will be perching out in the open again any time soon and I will be more patient with my camera.