A great horned owl minds her three owlets

Saanich owl family lands online reality show

Great horned owls raise owls in planter outside office building near Tillicum area; Hancock Wildlife Foundation helps set up webcams

The big mama shoots me a death glare – her scowling amber eyes never leave mine as three little puffballs tuck into her chest.

You can’t sneak up on an owl, and this one is probably aware of every conversation and keyboard clack in the building where she’s made her home.

It’s unusual behaviour, but two great horned owls have decided to nest in a concrete planter box under a window, four storeys off the ground.

Where North Saanich had its famed eagle cam, the Tillicum area of Saanich now hosts live-streaming webcams broadcasting the daily drama of an owl family.

So far, much of the action is mom doting over her three down-covered owlets, while papa delivers a steady diet of rodents and birds after dark.

“It rare to have a nest situated next to a window where there’s a lot of activity going on,” said Jeff Krieger of Alternative Wildlife Solutions, an animal control company based in Metchosin. “Usually they take over nests of crows or red tailed hawks. Here they took over a planter. It’s a strange spot. It’s quite unique.”

Krieger, a volunteer at the Wild Animal Rescue Centre (Wild ARC) in Metchosin, first got the call from staff at the building, who were concerned the mother owl was injured.

”I went and took a look and put two plus two together and found she was sitting on three eggs,” Krieger said. The owlets hatched over Feb. 13 to 15 and are now in transition from down to feathers.

Wild ARC asked the precise building location not be identified to keep people away from the nest.

Great horned owls are common for Greater Victoria, but as nocturnal hunters that tend to nest in rural and forest areas, they aren’t that visible. A pair hatching their brood next to a building and below a window is almost unheard of, and allowed for Krieger to install three webcams (including one with infrared), in partnership with the Hancock Wildlife Foundation.

Krieger, a specialist in raptors, expects the great horned owl family to stay in place for another six to eight weeks as the owlets gain their footing. Their mother will eventually leave the nest for longer periods and join in the hunt with their father.

If the pair survive into next year and their planter breeding spot is successful, there’s a good chance they’ll return next season.

“This is an opportunity to show people what really happens in nature,” Krieger said. “It’s an opportunity to watch nocturnal animals feed their young.”

See hancockwildlife.org under Live Cameras, and the cameras labelled Victoria Wild ARC owls.

editor@saanichnews.com

 

 

Just Posted

Sixty Sooke homes needed to host Japanese students

Homestay program offers visitors a taste of life in Canada

UPDATED: Heavy police presence in Victoria had part of Bay Street blocked off

Bay Street east of Quadra Street was blocked off on Saturday

Hundreds of foreign species still washing up on B.C. coast, eight years after tsunami

The Royal BC Museum is home to thousands of samples collected along the west coast of North America

Victoria first Canadian city to join United Nations tree planting challenge

The City of Victoria pledges to plant 5,000 trees by the end of 2020

VIDEO: Grizzly bears fight along northern B.C. highway in rare footage

Cari McGillivray posted the head-turning video, shot near Stewart, B.C., to social media

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Police arrest B.C. phone scammer linked to illegal call centres in India

Person arrested in Burnaby here on a work visa, says police

Air Canada forced girl, 12, to remove hijab: civil rights group

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations calling for change

Man from Winnipeg who was hiking alone found dead in Banff National Park

RCMP say the man was hiking alone on Mount Temple Thursday

Resident finds loaded shotgun inside a duffle bag in Kelowna alleyway

RCMP seized a loaded 12-gauge shotgun, ammunition, clothing and other items

Graffiti, calls and Snapchat: RCMP probe string of threats targeting Kamloops schools

There have been nine different threats made to four different schools in the city

B.C. truck drivers to face higher fines for not using winter tire chains

As of Oct. 1, not using chains on the highway when required could net you a $598 ticket

Most Read