Great Horned Owl

While doing a point count at the Oak Island unit on Sauvie Island (Birding Oregon p. 56), I heard something large rustling in the brush and saw this beasty.

She blended in with her surroundings very well, but those big yellow eyes stand out.

I have seen Great Horned Owls hunting on foot before, but after watching this bird for a while I guessed that she was injured. I considered trying to take her in for medical attention, but the idea of capturing a large predator bare-handed is seldom a good one. She watched me watching her for several minutes before trotting nimbly down a little path through the brush.

Photographing a bird within brushy cover is challenging with my little auto-focus camera. The camera wants to focus on the closest objects, the leaves and sticks, leaving the bird blurry in the background. I had to find a tree trunk that was about the same distance away as the owl, focus on that, and then aim at the owl. This works well with a big stationary target like a Great Horned Owl, but is more challenging with warblers.

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