This was one of the poses I was hoping for with these barred owlets.
Encounter: These photos are from an encounter I had on Tuesday evening. Actually, I was in this location trying to get a good shot of a Swainson's Thrush. However, I looked up and saw a single owlet on a moss covered fallen log. It was so beautiful I forgot about the Thrush and started taking photos of the owlet. All the while I was wondering where his sibling was. They are usually very close together. I started to inch forward for a better angle and noticed movement to my left. I turned and saw my regular two owlets. OK, where did the third owlet come from? I turned the camera towards the pair of owls because they were really, really close. They did some head bobbing but didn't really seem to mind my company or my close proximity. They even started to do some preening and wing fans. What a great opportunity. Eventually, I decided to move to a different angle and to back off a little. Funny thing is that they moved onto different perches that were closer to me. They really are curious little monkeys. At one point the third, single owlet, decided to join the party. That lasted all of two seconds before the pair put the run on him.
After about 10 minutes, I heard a commotion coming through the forest. It was a crow chasing one of the adult owls. The owl turned up into a Maple tree where I saw his mate. The flying owl didn't even stop. He just threw something in the air. The perched owl caught it and immediately took flight towards the owlets. I realized the were coordinating the feeding. I scrambled to get the camera ready, but I missed the transfer from the owl to the owlet. However, I did get a few shots of the owlet with the food before he ate it. All-in-all a great encounter. Lots of close looks in good light. Some real good action, too.
So, what about the Third Owlet?
Actually, I think the third owlet is the original owlet from the nest I was watching. I never saw more than one owlet in the nest. When the two owlet family showed up, in the same basic territory, I just assumed that I must have missed the second owlet in the nest. Although I was never 100% convinced. Now, I'm starting to think there are two families in the same territory. One family has the owlet that I watched grow in the nest and another family that I've just happened upon.