The Raven and the Baby Owl

Low Flying Black Bird

I was outside doing yard work when a bird flew past me flying very low, about 30 feet from the ground, flapping it’s wings furiously. This flight behavior might not seem unusual, but it is for these big black birds known as the Common Raven. They usually soar, high up, wings spread catching the updraft. When they fly low and fast, it means they’ve spotted prey.

I watched as the raven went straight for a Joshua tree and hovered over it like a helicopter. My immediate assumption was that a baby bird and nest were in that tree. I ran towards the tree (it was about 100 feet away) and chased the raven away.

Found the Nest

Looking around the tree I found the nest and saw the baby Great Horned Owl peeking out over the top. I think there are two owls in the nest because I see eyes and tail feathers in the picture. What I couldn’t find was the mother owl. She wasn’t in that tree so I looked in several Joshuas close by but still didn’t see her – it isn’t easy to find an owl in a Joshua tree, it’s the perfect camouflage.
Baby Owl Nest2

The Raven Returns

The rest of the day I spent chasing that raven, or a raven, away from the baby owl, each time looking for the mother owl.

Common Raven

Mother Owl Returns

Finally, just before sundown, I heard the sound of an adult owl (you get used to that stuff around here). I went outside and there she was, the mother had returned. She wasn’t in the same tree as her baby but she was watching from very nearby. I decided to leave them alone. The ravens didn’t come back either.                                        Nevermore!


Owl photos by:  Candy Dorsey

Raven photo:  Joshua Tree National Park, Public Domain



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