Great Horned Owl Watercolor

I’ve always wanted to see an owl in the wild while hiking. The natural way…not with a local bird group nor some Audubon field-trip, but surprisingly caught off guard while walking through the woods. For years, I’ve prayed for it. Then it happened. And it all started with, “You wanna play Tarzan?”

That was my husband’s question to me when he saw a long vine hanging from a dead tree.

“Heck yeah, I wanna play,” I shouted. Who wouldn’t?

He grabbed the vine and pulled down to see if it would hold his weight. It started making loud noises. I thought it was going to immediately break….but I’ll let him test it first. He, he, he.

Suddenly, he looked up and his eyes grew wide as he excitingly clamored, “THERE’S AN OWL STARING RIGHT AT ME!”

“You lie,” I said as I started to walk over.

“No, no! Don’t move,” he replied.

“Whatever!” Rolling my eyes as I walked closer. (He’s usually a jokester and tries to trick me all the time.)

But this was no joke. For a beautiful, mystical, larger than life, great horned owl (Bubo virginianus) swooped out of that dead tree and landed a few feet in another tree.

Yes, my mouth was hanging open.
Without words, we just stood there, amazed. Staring. The owl stared back. Until some songbirds noticed its unwelcome arrival and started to mob the poor owl. It flew to another tree, where a pair of jays took over mobbing duties. They are much more loud and aggressive.

“We must leave,” I said.
I did not want the owl to be bothered and I’m pretty sure by this time of year, there’s probably an owlet or two inside the tree. But before we left, I remembered to do something very important!

Look under the tree for an owl pellet!!!!! YES!
I found one and we quickly left.

And immediately it went back inside the dead tree.

I am still in shock over the whole, unexpected event….how just by chance we flushed out a great horned owl trying to play Tarzan.
I will treasure this day forever.


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