Saturday, September 29, 2007


Great Horned Owl in Tompkins Square Park

These varied images perhaps look to be images of more than one bird but they are not . They are images of one very large bird : they are images of North Americas third largest owl .
For the past two days a Great Horned Owl ( Bubo virginianus virginianus ) has been roosting in the Hari Krishna tree in the middle of Tompkins Square Park . Apparently this big bird , smaller in size than only the Great Grey Owl ( Strix nebulosa ) and the Snowy Owl ( Nyctea scandiaca ) , has been doing some night-time hunting in the TSP area .
We have never seen this species of bird in the park before and have no idea why it would be in our park . though a very adaptable bird it is usually shy of human populations . If the size of the crowds that have gathered to observe this animal are any indication it is a welcome visitor .
Great Horned Owls are large in all ways . The bird is probably 20 inches or more from the tip of the "horns" ( actually just some tufts of feathers ) to the tip of the tail .The wing-span is perhaps 40 or more inches and the span of one of the open , huge and powerful feet is 7 inches talon-tip to talon-tip .
The bird probably weighs around 3 pounds and as is true of many of the larger predatory birds the female is larger by a noticeable amount . In the case of the Great Horned Owl the female is larger by perhaps a quarter .
These owls are strong enough to carry a rabbit or a smallish house cat to the nest to feed its young . It is a heavy lifter and is probably more than a match for our slightly lighter TSP Red Tailed Hawks : look at the size of the feet and talons on this owl . Red Tailed Hawks and Great Horned Owls do not commonly encounter each other in the wild since the two species usually hunt at different times of the day
This afternoon we waited for at least two hours to get a chance to take a picture of the owl taking flight to begin an evening of hunting . Since it was getting darker we decided to remove the optical doubler from our image-stabilized lens inorder to increase its speed by a needed 2 stops but just as we had finished removing the optical doubler from our lens the owl took to the air and we missed our chance for a really good shot ... but we did get a blur of a wing in the sky.

WOW, your are always in the right place at the right time! good work as always!!!
I do hope no one is poisoning the park's rats! Wouldn't want the owl to catch a poison-filled entree.
Yes I saw the owl today thanks to Dennis who discovered this beauty. We have a huge rat problem so the Great Horn Owl is much need and appreciated.

My one fear is that the crowd got to big and too noisy, some bringing their dogs over, the religous group with it's stereo was too loud and the Owl needs to rest during the day or he or she will leave us. The park is over run with too many tourists, students playing frisbee, and side shows, movie crews...

It ain't easy attracting attention with one's beauty. Sad to lose this beauty that graces us is the dear owl can't get some rest. I empathize.

I called it the Great horny owl...oops.
thanks for posting these--i was hoping you would. i saw you pointing out the owl to someone in TSP around 5:00 pm that day, but could not spot the owl myself, as much as I peered into the tree. and after following your blog for months, it was a thrill for me, for the first time, to spot you out with your camera.
thanks for the great photos of a great bird-finally a noble subject
for your photography

Blonde Boy Wilson
In response to "Blonde Boy Wilson"

remarking "finally a noble subject"
PLEASE take note of the title of this blog
"Neither more nor Less"
my point is, grow up, you have just insulted me, the author of this blog, and every person ever featured in it!

*Heres an idea, "Blonde Boy Wilson" go in search of a more noble synonym, and then get lost!
wow, really amazing pictures. you're always right on top of what's going on with the wildlife of tompkins
Wow. Fantastic. I've been waiting for these photos to pop up somewhere. I was in the park on Thursday the 27th, and now I can tell all my friends that I wasn't crazy. Nobody believes me you see. I'm writing an article on this. Would anyone like to go on the record about this amazing creature?
Kelly Anne:

I'm glad I insulted you-bite my ass. Idiots like you are why I left
the Village behind.

Blonde Boy Wilson
Just once more in response to "Blonde Boy Wilson"

Your last commentary is proof positive,
your all Ass and no Class!!!!

Evidently your leaving the village behind, is symptomatic of the fact that your NOT village worthy!
I have better things to do
Kelly Anne than to pick fights
on the Island of Broken Toys-thank
Wotan that I am not "village worthy" Now be a good girl and
take your medication. Ive already
forgotten you.
Bha Bye BBW, Bye Bye!!!!
on sunday dec 6. the owl was above a window on an avenue A building (at st, mark's place). a beautiful sight...
Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]