A first w/ a GHO...


Jan 31, 2021
I had a first while bow hunting last Sunday. As the sun was about to come up I had a Great Horned Owl fly right by me in the tree. He never made a sound coming, going, or taking flaps. This really freaked me out b/c it didn't make sense or register with my small brain. I was astonished as he landed about 30 yards away, again making zero noise. I've been dive bombed many times, had all types of Barreds land on my branch or beside me, we even have owls who fornicate on our back deck each year - but I have never seen an owl so large, so close, move/fly without a sound. Made my day.

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I've never yet managed a good photo of an owl. You're right, they're amazingly quiet flyers.

Earliest memory of being up close to an owl was when I was about 12 years old hunting pheasants in a milo field with Dad and his buddies. The milo was only a bit over knee high. I was hoping a noisy pheasant would flush in front of me...

Nope - an owl rose silently no more than 10 - 15' ahead of me. I was shocked. Not a whisper of sound, just a big bird... No, I didn't shoot it.

We have nesting Great Horned Owls on our property so we see them occasionally. They are indeed the F-35 stealth fighter of the birds of prey.

I remembered an experience with a huge barn owl, it flew across the road and my pick up radio antennae clipped it and I figured it was injured, so I quickly pull over and got my flashlight. I ran back to look for it and it was in the grass and motionless, but it was breathing, so i took my shirt off and wrapped it and carried it to my truck. Placed it wrapped in the back seat and it was still motionless. I figured it may have had a little concussion. Drove through the dark night to my house, when I started coming into the city and stopped at a red traffic light, I looked in the mirror and I was like " Oh crap" , there it was,,,perched on my front seat next to the head rest and it was staring at my ear. Just mere inches from my head and I never heard a sound when i drove or never knew how long it had been perched there. Never budged an inch, when I got home, slowly slid out while it eyeballed me with big eyes and went inside to call my wife and kids to come look at it. I went in the back seat to get my shirt and carefully tried to cover its back so i can wrap it and take it out, after several unsuccessful attempts and finally got it out and went out into the street and gently tossedf it into the air and it gracefully opened its wings and flew away into the night. What an experience with a wild bird and it was something I never forget. Also I had rescued a American Kestrel hawk, it had a broken wing and i splinted it and groomed it, fed it, watered it and cared for it for several months until I was sure it was able to fly, and one day I let it go back into the wild and I would see it come around my house several times and perched on my fence in early mornings where he frequents when I cared for it.