Back in the middle of April, a few friends told me about a Great Horned Owl pair that were nesting in a windowbox in a rather urban part of Fairbanks. The windowbox was on the side of a building with businesses on the first floor and apartments on the second floor.
From what I was hearing at the time, there were two eggs in the nest, but only one actually hatched. The female owl spent all of her time in the nest, sitting on the eggs and then later keeping the owlet warm, while the male hunted and brought her food.
I visited the nest for the first time on April 24th. There were several others in attendance, and I gathered that as word spread, more people would be stopping by to see and photograph them. Fortunately, during the times I was there, everyone was behaving quite respectful of the owl family - keeping their distance, keeping their voices down, and otherwise just standing and watching or photographing. I imagine the owls would have preferred a little more privacy, but I was drawn to them - like so many others - especially as they had chosen such an odd place to raise their family.
Much of the time, especially in the evening hours, the male owl would perch on the pole next to the windowbox, keeping watch over his little family. We were already seeing the longer daylight hours of late spring, so the evening hours tended to be after 8pm. At other times of the day, the male owl would perch on a nearby power pole, where he could also keep an eye on his family, but see the many voles (small rodents) running back and forth in the grass below.
These are some of the first photos I took of the owls - on April 24th. I knew there was an owlet in the box, but he didn’t show himself. These were taken about 8:30pm, and the sun is still very bright:
I returned the next evening (April 25th), and caught my first glimpse of the owlet! He was quite the homely fellow with his sparse, downy feathers, and yet so incredibly adorable too.