Great Horned Owlet Now Hunting on Own: Nesting Tree Falls

Yosemite - June 26, 2007

Nesting Site DownHaving been away on a trip to the East Coast, the Magical Light Photography team was anxious to return to the Yosemite Great Horned Owl Family.

Thus, on June 24th we made our way to the nesting tree and were surprised to see the nesting cavity now lying on the ground! Whether from age, decay, wind (or a combination of the three,) the tree had cracked in two perhaps eight feet below the nest opening.

We were playing host to a first-time Yosemite visitor as we explored the general habitat area in search of the parents and surviving youngster.



Matt Sileo, Field Biologist, Naturalist, and Nature Photographer is currently working for the Institute for Wildlife Studies (Web site: ) observing the endangered San Clemente Loggerhead Shrike off the California coast on San Clemente Island.

As sunset approached Matt joined us on the "hunt" and skillfully spotted one parent perched on a low snag in deep shade. We quickly, and as stealthily as possible, made our approach, cameras at the ready.


the Young Hunter

As we closed in on the quarry we were thrilled to observe Owlet fly in from somewhere along the dark forest duff clutching dinner!

The young hunter landed on a sturdy limb to enjoy a feast of freshly-killed California Ground Squirrel. Mm-mm-mm!

We crept as close as we could but, alas, the actual consumption occurred high up in a distant branch, Owlet shielded by dense foliage, far from our prying eyes.


Visit the WILDLIFE Gallery for a larger view. More about the "Yosemite Half-Baked Exploratory Expedition" to follow...