Thursday, September 22, 2011

Twoo Whit Twoo Woo

This Spotted Eagle Owl is currently residing in our garden.
Our first official day of Spring is today, September 22, which in the Southern Hemisphere is the Springtime Equinox. For the past couple of weeks, we have heard owls hooting in our immediate neighbourhood and, in the last few days, we have been delighted to discover a visitor of our own...a beautiful Spotted Eagle Owl.

To continue reading this post, please click the Read more button below...


We have not been able to incontrovertibly identify it as male or female. as there is apparently not much discernible difference. We suspect our visitor is male. The female of the species is apparently the larger of the two, but unless we were to see them side by side, we would have no way of knowing. Although larger than any of the other bird visitors (except the guinea fowl) it is not a big bird. At first, we'd wondered whether it was still a juvenile.

 Spotted Eagle Owls apparently mate for life, but although we hear our owl hooting and an answering call coming from fairly close by, we have not yet seen the second owl (or, that we know of!)

It spends most of the daylight hours sleeping and becomes alert as evening draws in. Here, it rests in the bottlebrush tree on our driveway.

Our owl favours the wetland area of the garden. Here, it is sitting on the brick chimney of our braai (barbeque), literally within reaching distance. It was completely at ease in our presence.

The day was drawing to a close and there was plenty of bird activity in the wetland. During the day, the birds seem completely unperturbed by the owl's presence and they fly all around it going about their activities without fear.

A pair of fledgling pigeons in their now too small nest situated a couple of arms' lengths away from where the owl roosts during the day.

To take these pictures, my husband was standing on a ladder and holding his remote camera attached to the end of a pole. This is a large, densely wooded, weeping bottlebrush on our driveway.

Here is the owl, fast asleep in the same tree as the baby pigeons.

"Oh, please just leave me alone! I need my beauty rest!"

Once evening started to set in, the owl moved into the wetland area of the garden and sat in the small, potted tree I use as my birdfeeding station.

It stayed for a while and then flew into the White Stinkwood tree.

Another evening, happily perched on the braai's chimney as the sun is getting itself ready for bed.

We feel so privileged when an owl comes calling! I know that some people are terribly superstitious about an owl hooting from the roof of ones house, as they believe owls are ominious messengers of death. I am not at all superstitious. I think it's wonderful lying in bed at night listening to their hooting. While some might think their sound is haunting, I find it pacifying knowing that while the world is asleep, these beautiful creatures are keeping an eye on all the things that go bump in the night.


  1. You are so lucky to have a spotted eagle owl visiting you!

    I have never seen an owl
    but I do love them.

    Have a very happy Spring.


  2. What an imposing bird and great shots!

  3. Wow! What a lovely capture, and such eyes! So nice! Funny - I put up pic's of birds today also :)
    Have a lovely evening my friend!

  4. How beautiful !! ..amazing !!!! form

  5. Magnificent pictures! Such a stunning beauty of a bird! I told you you live in the Garden of Eden! LOL

    I actually thought that owls meant good luck. But then, that could just be my mind readjusting a superstition that it didn't like. :)

  6. Wow, how amazing to see that in your own garden! What bright yellow eyes it has too.

  7. These are incredible pictures, Desiree! The owl is also feared and misunderstood because it appears to have a mean looking glare but that's how God made him and it's wonderful. I have at least one owl outside my house here in Florida. I never see him during the day but at dusk and by night I see him in the trees of our wooded lot or atop a lamp post. I don't mind his hooting at all but I admit that it's disconcerting to hear his eerie cry as he catches prey in the middle of the night. Thank you for posting these wonderful images, Desiree!

  8. Very impressive photos of the owl and pigeons, how lucky to have them in your trees. I've heard owls in our woods and find their sound comforting too, but have never seen one so near...just glimpses of them flying through the night.

  9. Hi Desiree,
    I have missed looking at your blog and it's nice to get caught up. You have been busy! The owls are so cool and you have a great husband to climb up there and get the pictures that he did. they are amazing!

    Your spring is starting as our fall is starting. I'm envious! But I can't wait to see the pictures of your garden coming to life in the spring!


  10. Couldn't get to your post quick enough when I saw the title and thumbnail Desiree!!
    Fantastic photos - how incredible to have this owl resident in your garden. Well done hubby too - going to such lengths to get those photos.
    I have the same feeling about hearing the owls' calls during the night (other night birds too). It's nature ticking along as it should. We, most fortunately, are a part of it.
    I looked out the window first thing this morning and our bottlebrush has two blooms just popped open. It's beaut to see yours - welcome Spring!
    I'm still prattling, but, just as a side note, your gorgeous pigeon fledglings reminded me of our pigeon families. You also would have gone through the continuous "whoooo whoooo" mating calls of their parents too - we always laugh and yell out "all right, all ready... just get on with it!!"
    Cheerio for now and thank you for this awe-inspiring post :D)

  11. Beautiful Owl Picture!
    Tomorrow is our Fall Equinox....

  12. Oh my dear, the photos take my breath away and I wish I was a painter-a real painter(not like those silly rocks.) I would love to paint this. I've never heard of the death thing-I've always heard that owls are associated with wisdom! You are a wise woman and this little guy knows it!

  13. I love the pictures of your owl. I am not superstitious either. Gosh I have to take time and read your background. You live in Africa? Were you born there? Did you meet your husband there? Do you have children? I need to find out more about you.


  14. Oh, I love owls! This one is a beauty! Your hubby worked hard for some of these pictures--great job! I never knew anyone considered them bad luck or portents of death. I love to listen to them, too. I think of them as more like good fortune, I guess. Thanks so much for sharing your visitor. :):)

  15. Keeping a YELLOW eye on it! What fabulous shots of the owl and fledglings. How lucky to have it in residence - perhaps you'll have some babies on your property.

  16. Oh, what marvelous pictures of the owl! I hope you get to see its mate, and figure out which is which. I love to listen to the hooting of owls too, there's something magical about it. Maybe they will stay and raise a brood of babies.

  17. The owl is absolutely beautiful! How on Earth did you get so many wonderful shots of him awake? I hope he finds his mate... I know there was a goose near my parent's pond whose mate died (they also mate for life) and the poor creature stood by the carcus for most of two days. I suspect a coyote got the remains, because it disappeared after the second night. AFter that, it was hard to discern which goose was which (there are usually many by that pond) so we hoped the one left behind had assimilated into the group.

    I'm always amazed at the pictures on the blog. I see Spring coming to your garden even as Autumn is coming to mine. I walked in the woods today and caught the first glimpse of crimson in the brush and gold and orange in the trees overhead.

    I never seem to remember a camera! Maybe next time.

  18. Really beautiful photo's. You are very fortunate to have him take up permanent residence. I hear one occasionally in our garden but have yet to see it.

  19. What absolutely wonderful pictures! We hear owls all the time in the nearby woods but almost never see them.

  20. Desiree, I would like to introduce your owl to the possum who is living under our house... If you get my drift.

  21. Oh wow I love the photos of the owl you have shared here you are so lucky to have been able to take them and we are so lucky you have shared them with us...........Owls are such beautiful creatures

  22. Amazing! I would absolutely LOVE to have an owl roosting in my garden. They are such beautiful birds! I hope he stays around for a while and we hear more of him/her.

  23. What amazing photos!
    There are very large owls here but we rarely see them, although we hear them (and they sound like yours, or like me when I was a Brownie!). It's magical and mysterious when one swoops down at dusk.

  24. Dear Desiree, these photographs your husband took of the owl and also of the fledging pigeons bring the staggering beauty of nature right into my home. Thank you.

    My sister-in-law doesn't know your blog but loves birds and so I'm sending her your link so she, too, can enjoy these awesome photographs.

    I want also to thank you for your latest comments on my postings. Your depth of understanding and your perceptive comments always make me pause to rethink what I've written.

    I think that for most people, Meniere's is an unknown disease. That's why, when it does happen to someone, they have no one with whom to talk.
    Their friends try hard to understand, but if a person isn't particularly articulate, then explaining the disease is truly hard.

    I'm writing about it because I'd like to help others understand the disease and I'd like to reach out to those who have it so they'd know they aren't alone.


  25. That is so cool that you have your very own owl! The bottlebrush makes a beautiful background for the sleeping owl. Your husband is a very talented photographer!

  26. he or she is beautiful! lovely yellow eyes! so neat that you have it so close! i love owls too and their loud hoots up close to the house at night make me smile. :)

  27. such a gorgeous owl fortunate to have this beauty living in your garden!

  28. What a delightful post Desiree, you are fortunate to have the owls visit your garden but to get such beautiful photos as well what a bonus, thankyou for sharing.

    I am catching up on blog reading today having been without the internet for some days thanks to a huge storm knocking out our connection! Thankyou for your recent comment on News From Italy,
    I was pleased that I was able to convey the atmosphere of the Fiera del Vino to you in the post, meaning you enjoyed your visit.

    Have a good weekend.

  29. I'm so envious your hubby got close enough for these incredible shots. Our resident owls, while not particularly shy, have not allowed me such great access. I hope the owl leaves the doves alone!

  30. The beauty rest photo is one of my favorites...and I can't get over how piercing the owl's eyes are in the other photos!

  31. Wow, you got some really amazing shots of that owl. Did you have to creep up on him and hoot and holler to get his attention for the photo shoot?

  32. I'm here from Jo's blog. I love your photos. They are simply incredible.

  33. Stunning capture!

  34. wow!!! what gorgeous shots!!! amazing!!! and i love to hear their HOOTS!!
    it is hard to tell the difference between male and female...we have the Barred Owls here...and i always thought our one visitor was a male...until i saw the 2 together and HE was actually the larger SHE!

    beautiful pictures!! LOVED them ALL!

  35. Great pictures. How he 'squeezes' his eyes tight!
    Do not disturb!!


I would love to hear from you!