adventures in nature

2015 Feb 20 – owl voyeur (mating of the owls)

For the last two weeks, on at least six different nights, I’ve seen one of the pairs of owls who inhabit the area of my regular wanders mate. Owl love-making, owl coitus. Oh yeah.

I’ve gotten some decent audio recordings of it (wow, that sounds weird), but finally on Friday night I got a few photos (now it sounds even weirder). Owl voyeurism, what can I say. Happy they felt comfortable, and I take it as a sign that I’m doing a good job of making my presence unknown or, if they see me, not to put stress on the animals. I feel confident saying that they probably didn’t feel stressed.

It was past sunset, so the natural light was not so good, but it was really amazing to see, hear, and it left just enough light to photograph.

First, the female came out from her roost and was making vocalizations, presumably inviting the male in for some fun with that, um, sexy penetrating gaze?

female great-horned owl

female great-horned owl

After a few minutes, her seductive gaze shifted to a spot on the live-oak tree about 20 feet away where the male owl alighted …

female great-horned owl gazing at male

female great-horned owl gazing at male

The male perched on the other side of the same oak tree, surveying the surroundings (trying to look cool and non-nonchalant, I think).

handsome fella, ready for love - male great-horned owl

handsome fella, ready for love – male great-horned owl

Within a minute of the two being perched together on top of the tree, the male flew over and mounted the female to mate. Owls evidently aren’t so much into the foreplay stuff. Or, it’s indiscernible to human observers.

They sounded like a mixture between chimpanzees and some sort of song bird rapidly singing. It starts with a repetitive low “hoo hoo hoo” that sounds like a chimp or orangutang and quickly turns into a high frequency chirping sound. All in all in takes about 3 to 5 seconds. Fast and furious, a short but evidently fulfilling rendezvous. Not that you could tell by their reactions afterwards.

great-horned owls mating

great-horned owls mating

great-horned owls mating

great-horned owls mating

great-horned owls mating

great-horned owls mating

post-coitus great-horned owls

post-coitus great-horned owls (female on right with tail still raised)

Afterwards, there was no cuddling. They both seemed pretty stand-offish, ready for breakfast …

the after-glow? post coitus GHOW's.

the after-glow? post coitus GHOW’s.

Within a minute or so, the male flew off to start hunting for the night.

male GHOW flies off, fun is done

male GHOW flies off, fun is done

Hopefully I’ll see some owlets sometime soon.

One response

  1. Mitch

    Too funny. Was almost crying reading your captions.

    February 28, 2015 at 5:35 pm

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