I took my family to an undisclosed location today on a quest to see my first ever Long-eared Owl. We knew the approximate location, but overshot it and spent an hour looking in the right habitat, but the wrong place. While thoroughly searching in the wrong place, I was still delighted to discover a Red-tailed Hawk nest and even a Mourning Dove nesting on an old Magpie nest.
After a phone call to a great birding friend, we got the courage to go back and look a little harder at the places we had already been. I spied the Long-eared Owl on a nest. I got my family and with stern warnings to be very quiet and to walk slowly we all peeked from behind a tall sage brush down the ravine at the Long-eared Owl. I took the photo below through my binoculars and then zoomed and cropped it. Look at her all nestled into that huge nest. My father-in-law, Lynn Davenport, calls her a rabbit on a nest. My three year old also believes it is a bunny.
Momma Long-ear was certainly aware of us, but we kept a very respectable distance so that she wouldn't get too nervous and flush. I am proud of my normally wound-up kids for their reverence in her presence. She is my life bird #320 and she means a whole lot more to me than just a tick in eBird.