Sunday, April 21, 2013

One-eyed Wanda the Great Horned Owl Mama

One-eyed Wanda is a large female Great Horned Owl at my birding patch. How she lost her left eye I don't know, but it sure makes it easy to recognize her. This year she decided to nest here on the top right corner of this high metal power line tower adjacent to the highway.
I've been looking at her up on the nest for several weeks now. A couple weeks ago I saw one white fuzzy owlet. One-eyed Wanda was ripping apart a fairly large mammal, probably a rabbit, and feeding chunks to the chick. It gave me hope that she was still an effective hunter and a good mother. Or, her smaller mate, that I usually am able to find roosting nearby is a good provider for the family.
This week, one of the Avimor neighbors called to say that they had a one-eyed owl perched on their roof right over their front door.
I went to see for myself. Sure enough, One-eyed Wanda was there basking in the sunlight on a breezy and cool spring day. I felt concerned for her being perched out in the open like this and not flushing as the people came in and out of their house just mere feet away from her. I worried that she was not up at the nest tending to the owlet(s) keeping it warm and protecting it from being blown off the tower or from being eaten by hungry and nest-coveting Red-tailed or Swainson's Hawks. She seemed lethargic...if you can describe day-time snoozing Great Horned Owls as lethargic. I wondered if she was sick or if the nest had failed.

The bird of prey rescue lady I called about my concerns sagely suggested that we just watch her and that she was probably all right. I decided that if she was still there the next day, I'd be more concerned.
The next day was a cold, windy, and rainy one. It was midday before I could check on One-eyed Wanda and her nest. I am happy to report that I found Mama on her nest and the owlet as fluffy as ever. Phew!
I suppose moms of all species just need a day off now and then.


  1. It's interesting that you can see her so well on the nest. Here in central Florida they are usually hidden high up in trees. Great to know that she's doing well.

  2. LOL! Robert, you know they do! Great story! I loved this! and thank you for your concern!