Bird of the Day: A Winking Great Horned Owl at the Merced National Wildlife Refuge
We were following the auto-tour at the Merced National Wildlife Refuge and the sun was getting low in the sky to the west. We were pretty much wrapping things up when the marsh area around the Bittern Trail came alive with the hooting of owls. There were several of them, but we could only locate one of them up in the trees. In the growing darkness, picture-taking was tricky.
The Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) is a familiar bird across both North and South America, but I've only seen a few of them in the time I've been birdwatching. Their nocturnal nature of course makes it a bit tough to see them easily.
I caught a bit of the hooting on video, which can be seen and heard below...