In flight

If you count mom with it there were 4…..; Great Horned Owls. Coming from seeing 1 in the wild in my entire life I got the super show of seeing a mom and her three chicks. How lucky is that!

We were camping in Mammoth, Yellowstone. And had noticed a nest of Great Horned owls in a tree where before I once saw a Grey owl nest.We were there for about three days and on the first day there was a group of people gathering at that same site and yes it was an owl’s nest again. So every morning and every night before heading back to the campground we drove by to see the owls. They were mostly hiding in the big pine tree next to the homes in the village where mom had her nest. And you could catch a glimpse or two as they were hopping through the tree already.  But that one rainy day I didn’t see them in that tree anymore. Was a bit bummed about it and thought that they had left the nest, at it was about time. They really looked big the day before. But then when I walked back to the car I saw some weird looking rooftops bumps of the house next to the nest tree.

It was them! They were out and about!


How cool is that! Never seen young owls like this and and they were attempting to get up and fly to the next tree. They were looking and bopping to see how this whole flying thing was working. I am Dutch there is a Dutch saying about young owls. It’s comparable to what Americans mean with “Dombo”.  They’re not the smartest loops in the bowl. 🙂

It was so funny to see them try to figure out these wing things attached to their body. They somehow weren’t working the whole time. Just every now and then and with that was a lot of slipping and sliding involved.



There were two of them on the top of the roof.  Slipping and sliding away and am sure the rain didn’t help either. They had the best facial expressions when one of their attempts failed again.



Soooo tiring this flying thing. And can we please stop that rain…. But then…. then…..


One on the far left did an attempt and got lift of. Whooohoooo…..


It was a magnificent thing to see. Unbalanced and the landing in the tree came with a lot of noise. But it made it across!!


When I looked through my binoculars to trying to find him in the tree somewhere I did spot mom in another tree. She was right there, watching her babies. And must have been very proud at least one had figured it out.


The one that was left on the rooftop,  then began really trying. He wanted to fly too…. He had all the moves and surely had the attitude yet those wings were not working the way he wanted. Poor thing.





After all attempts he/she did give me the look. You did not just make a photo of that, did you? Really? sigh….

We were watching with a ranger who was walking to her home at the end of the day. We did chat with her the night before too. And she asked what we were looking at in the rain. Once explained that the owls were out she stayed as well and we all laughed and felt so sorry for the little owl. Life is tough!!!

Then in the corner of my eye I saw a swoosh and heard on big flap….. It was mom…. She probably spotted dinner in the field across from the house. So fast and precise. And such a contrast to her young ones.

May be it was supposed to be a lesson. This is how it’s done kids. I got a few shots of her. But again so super fast and in the rainy weather hard to capture her.



Beautiful though. What a show we were able to see. And we weren’t the only ones watching her. Went I turned around again there were two babies on the roof. Where the extra one came from I have no idea. It might have been still in that nest tree.


They were both eying on what dinner they would be having. Yet Mom landed in the tree the one chick just flew in. And these two were not being served. Come and get your dinner kids….

I reminded me of training my dog. Everything is learned best, with a treat. And suppose that is the same with owls.


She sure got their attention. By then it really started to rain and we decided to head on back to the campground and maybe they would have better “First in Flights” with us not watching. So we walked back to the car. But when I got to the car I had to have one more look, just to remind myself of how special it was to watch these moments.


The “Dombo” chick had gotten closer to the tree…… and…… there it went…..


Life can be so good and simple….. What a beautiful sight!!! It made it…. Barely, but it did….. May it have a wonderful life in Yellowstone! And may it get the flying skills  & wisdom of its mom!

By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.

~ Confucius





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