How could I resist taking images of a fledgling Short-eared Owl in tumbleweeds? I just couldn’t. Owls are fascinating subjects for me as a bird photographer and tumbleweeds are icons of America’s West and well known for getting hung up on fences. The tumbleweeds are not native but Short-eared Owls certainly are.
Even though I see tumbleweeds all over the Great Basin I really don’t have many images of birds perched on them or in a pile of them. (Peregrine Falcon)
Short-eared Owl chicks do not stay in their nests long, they disperse from their nests about 12 to 18 days after hatching even before they are able to fledge. They walk around near the nest site and how the adults are able to keep up with their locations simply amazes me. It doesn’t take them long to go from the pre-fledging stage to being able to fly short distances. Short-eared Owl fledglings are only dependent on their parents for a few weeks after they fledge.
In different location I found a dead female Short-eared Owl in the road not too far from at least two fledglings and it broke my heart. From the the literature I have read only the female feeds the young so I hope that the fledglings of the dead adult are old enough now to find food on their own so they can survive. Nature can be harsh and wonderful at the same time.
Life is good.