A great horned owl minds her three owlets

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

Rachel Rivera (left) and Claire Ouchi are a dynamic art duo known as the WKNDRS. The two painted the new road mural at Uptown. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
Artistic mural at Uptown brings creativity, fun to summer shoppers in Saanich

Road installation the largest of its kind in Greater Victoria

Kathy and Doug LaFortune stand next to the new welcome pole now gracing the front entrance of KELSET Elementary School in North Saanich. LaFortune completed the piece after suffering a stroke with the help of his wife and son Bear. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
KELSET school in North Saanich unveils welcome pole on National Indigenous Peoples Day

Carver Doug LaFortune completed pole with the help of his son, wife after suffering a stroke

Victoria police continue to look for missing man Tyrone Goertzen and are once again asking for the public’s assistance in locating him. (Photo courtesy of VicPD)
Victoria police put out another call for help finding missing man

Tyrone Goertzen, 33, was first reported missing June 4

Colwood council is looking at potential summer weekend closures to traffic of a section of Ocean Boulevard at Esquimalt Lagoon, to allow for more of a park-like setting during summer events such as the popular Eats & Beats event, shown here in 2018. (Black Press Media file photo)
Mayor lobbying for summer weekend closures of beachfront Colwood roadway

Rob Martin to bring motion forward to June 28 council meeting

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

Emergency vehicles are parked outside of the Wintergreen Apartments on Fourth Avenue. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni RCMP investigate stabbing on Fourth Avenue

Two men were found with ‘significant’ injuries near Wintergreen Apartments

Bernadette Jordan addresses the media following a swearing in ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on January 14, 2019. Jordan says the government will provide $2 million to allow First Nations to continue to strengthen the marine safety system across Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
First Nations receive federal funds to purchase marine rescue boats

Quatsino, Heiltsuk, and Kitasoo First Nation’s among eight across Canada to receive funding

Most Read