An Owl’s Life

Like clockwork every year, the resident Barred Owls of Rock Creek Park make their appearance to mark the beginning of spring and the beginning of a new cycle of life.

©Rob Klug

Though they live all year in the park, it’s in the last days of winter when we can see them as they begin to nest and prepare for their young.

©Rob Klug

A few weeks after hatching and brooding by their mother, the young owlets finally get their first glimpse of the world they will enter soon.

©Rob Klug

While mom is guarding her owlets, our owl dad’s life is pretty simple….sleep, stretch, scratch and preen.

SLEEP

©Rob Klug

STRETCH

©Rob Klug

SCRATCH

©Rob Klug

PREEN

©Rob Klug

Then comes a yawn

©Rob Klug

And back to sleep

©Rob Klug

By early evening, our dad owl performs his most most important duty, hunting.

©Rob Klug
©Rob Klug

Dad delivers the catch to mom, who in turn will feed the owlets.

©Rob Klug
©Rob Klug

Most afternoons, our owl parents will also spend a few moments showing each other some affection through grooming.

©Rob Klug

After several weeks of living a very quiet and sheltered existence, the lives of our owlets shift with a dramatic bang — they fledge.

©Rob Klug

Fledging is a scary and anxiety-inducing experience, to say the least.

©Rob Klug

Once an owlet fledges, it can’t go back to the nest, not even in the pouring rain.

©Rob Klug

The first order of duty for the newly fledged owlet is to use their wings and talons to climb high up to a place of safety.

©Rob Klug
©Rob Klug

By mid-summer, our owlets are beginning to look more like adults.

©Rob Klug

They have become good fliers and are learning how to hunt, and when they have some off time they even have some moments to play.

©Rob Klug

And with that we have completed another cycle of life for our Rock Creek Park Owls.


Rob Klug, who took the photos above, has spent many hours observing the owls in Rock Creek. Another owl observer is Seth Horstmeyer (@horstmeyerseth), who has recorded some amazing videos of the owls.

Female Barred Owl feeding crayfish to owlet

©Seth Horstmeyer

Barred owlets watching mom fly over the nest

©Seth Horstmeyer

Barred owlet drinking from creek

©Seth Horstmeyer

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6 Comments

    1. These are the very same owls which Karen photographed. In fact we were together when some of these photos were taken. I miss Karen very much.

  1. These pictures and videos gave me so much joy and happiness, thanks for sharing. I look forward to seeing the owls in next spring.

  2. Being the nature and animal that lover that I am, I am thrilled to see this post. Thank you.

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