Missing Montana’s Great Horned Owls

/, Glacier County, Great Horned Owls, Montana/Missing Montana’s Great Horned Owls

A mated pair of Great Horned OwlsA mated pair of Great Horned Owls

Great Horned Owls and old wood just seem to go together, the warm tones of the wood are a great compliment to the same tones in the plumage of Great Horned Owls. I also like the contrast of the hard lines and textures of the wood compared to the softness and patterns of the owl’s feathers.

This mated pair of Great Horned Owls were photographed in Glacier County Montana, in fact all of the owls in this post were. The female on the right is slightly larger than the male on the left but I could easily tell the male from the female with this mated pair because he has a “blown eye” that makes him distinctive and easy to ID.

A fledgling Great Horned OwlA fledgling Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl fledglings seem to have universal appeal. It might be because they rate so high on the cuteness scale! This fledgling Great Horned Owl was resting on the ladder to an old children’s fort. It was chilly that morning so it was probably warming up in the rising sun. On a scale of 1 to 10; with 10 being the best, this one gets an 11 from me.

Adult male Great Horned OwlAdult male Great Horned Owl

This is the male Great Horned Owl on the outside of an old granary, if you look at his eyes you can see that the left pupil is larger than the right and isn’t uniformly round. For a closer look at his eye you can look at my post titled “Birds with blown eyes“. It was warm the morning I photographed this male Great Horned Owl and not long after I took this image he flew into the granary to escape the bright sun.

Old Granary in Glacier CountyOld Granary in Glacier County

Whenever I am out around old buildings I always look for owls in the doors or windows and I always hope to see a Great Horned or Barn Owl there. The male is shown here basking in the golden light of dawn.

Yes, I am missing the Great Horned Owls I know and love in Montana.



  1. Julie Brown November 27, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    Amazing light and color. I love how all of the tones work together in these images.

  2. Lois Bryan November 25, 2013 at 8:40 pm

    Oh Mia!!!!!! They’re such beautiful creatures and each one of these images is perfection!!!!! WOW!!!!!!

  3. Elephant's Child November 25, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    Oh wow. Such beautiful birds – thank you so much.

  4. Utahbooklover November 25, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    Interesting post and great images Mia. The “blown” eye intrigued me and I found this about human eyes from Pacific University in Oregon you may find interesting:

    Congenital defects of the ocular structures happen due to developmental anomalies and intrauterine insults such as infections and drugs during pregnancy. During an exam, misplaced or ectopic pupils are frequently observed in clinic. Polycoria is used to describe multiple pupils. Ectopia describes displaced pupil. Corectopia refers to displacement of the pupil. Dyscoria refers to an abnormal shape of the pupil. Aniridia implies total absence of the iris, but some iris tissue usually remains. Both iris dilator and sphincter muscles are usually absent. Abnormalities in iris color could result from albinism. Heterochromia is used to describe a difference in color between two eyes. Iris coloboma implies a defect in the structure of the lower part of the iris. It is also described as keyhole pupil. Congenital miosis and mydriasis could be present at birth.

  5. CK Caldwell November 25, 2013 at 9:11 am

    You’ve done it again Mia! Your photos of these amazing owls are wonderful…..love your work.

  6. Patty Chadwick November 25, 2013 at 8:32 am

    I recently sold a watercolor of one of these wonderful birds. It was actually a portrait of a GHO named Winston, whooo I just learned is 22 years old! I really wish I still had the painting because it looked so much like “Wol”, the GHO rescue I raised many years ago.

  7. Syl Lobato November 25, 2013 at 8:22 am

    Mia..no words to described these photos..absolutely breath taking

  8. Chris Rohrer November 25, 2013 at 6:27 am

    Love your shots and the same…..the owls are my favorites:)

  9. Bob Bushell November 25, 2013 at 6:23 am

    The Great Horned Owls must have been to take photos Mia, absolutely superb.

  10. Montanagirl November 25, 2013 at 6:15 am

    Fantastic images of the Owls, Mia. I love seeing the Great Horned Owls too. I haven’t seen one in quite awhile.

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