Night Owl Photography YouTube Videos

Somehow, yesterday, my all of my YouTube videos got deleted.  A photographer sent me an email asking me where my videos went because went back to my page to view a photography tips video and it wasn’t there.  I think my account was compromised?  Anyway, I’ve reset all my online passwords and have now re-uploaded my YouTube videos so I thought I’d write a blog letting everyone know. 

My YouTube page has a few training tips videos, some nature and wildlife slide show videos, some client videos and I’ll be adding videos about every month from now on.  So go check it out at


Below is an example video for you.


Great Horned Owl Baby Age Progression

I visited the great horned owl nest again on Wednesday of this week, to discover the baby out of the nest, and up high in the tree.  It’s feathers had started to turn from the grey we’ve seen in the past, to the rich brown of a mature bird.  I’m not sure if the little guy flew up where he was perched, or if he walked up the branches.  My guess is that he flew the short distance to practice his flying for the first time.  The locals all said that it was the first time they had seen him leave the nest.  It was a beautiful day, with a blue sky, although it was quite windy.  It made for great pictures though.  The only drawback is that the sun was quite harsh for lighting.  I arrived late in the day around 4PM thinking it wouldn’t be so harsh, but I was wrong.  Oh well?!  🙂 

A security guard stopped to check out the owl when he noticed he wasn’t in the nest.  He told me a story about seeing one evening, a coyote scratching at the base of the tree with the nest, and the mother swooping in to attack the coyote.  The coyote ran off yelping as the owl made all kinds of “god awful” sounds in her attack.  Man, I wish I could have camped out there overnight just once to see the mother or father.  I never did get to see them. 

Today I received word that Bubo has left the nest and the nesting tree, and that no one could find him in nearby trees or perched anywhere else.  Could he have fledged the nest so early?  So early after branching for the first time?  The parent owls usually keep caring the the fledglings for up to 10 weeks.  I hope Bubo does well!  It’s likely that Bubo will not return next year, although his parents might.  So enjoy the video and the photographs.












And now I’d like to take a moment to thank both Sue and Tsumi. Tsumi for being the liaison between his roommate Sue and I, and Sue for arranging security access to the nesting site for me so that I could photograph Bubo. Thanks to both of you!






Great Horned Owl and Osprey Nest Updates

Last Thursday I was able to revisit the great horned owl nest that I photographed a few weeks earlier.  The baby had grown quite a bit in those 3 weeks for sure.  The weather was nice, but the sun was on the other side of the tree when I arrived because I needed to go in the morning.  I still didn’t get to see the mother though.  I even walked the trails around the nest to look for her roosting somewhere nearby, but only found a multitude of other birds instead. 

So the little guy that the locals call “owlie” was very quiet when I arrived around 10:30 or so.  He slept for about an hour and a half, and then woke up and started moving around.  Making all kinds of faces, cocking his head back and forth with some attitude, making funny eye expressions, etc.  It was neat to watch.  Below is my favorite photo from the day.  Click the photo to see the whole gallery.

After visiting the great horned owl nest, I ventured over to the osprey nest I had been to the week before. I think the female must have been incubating, because she never left the nest. The male was flying around gathering soggy branches and weeds for the nest, but the female never left it. So she’ll probably be there for quite some time now. Below is my favorite photo of the osprey nest from that day. Again, click the image to view the whole gallery.

I’ll keep updating you with photos as time progresses with each of these nests. If you want to stay up to date with these, and with my blog in general, look for the subscribe button on the right hand column of this blog.

Strange Days

So last week I took lots of pictures, and I have some to show you now that I’ve processed them all.  Quite a few odd things happened while I was out shooting last week though, and so I thought I’d write a blog about those oddities. 
 First off, the day before I went shooting last week, was a full moon.  (Que up Twilight Zone music.)
So I started out on April Fools Day early in the morning, before the sun, to go setup at a nearby forest preserve to catch the spring pelican migration.  The news had a story on this lake where pelicans gathered by the hundreds, which I already knew about through the birding community.  Well, tons of people showed up that morning because of the news story, and NO PELICANS.  However, I did get to see and photograph Sandhill Cranes up close! 
So next I continued on to try to find an Osprey nest at another forest preserve. I got lost on the way there, more than once, but eventually I found the preserve, and found the nest. Thanks to one of my camera store customers, Gordon, for the tip on where to find this nest. I was very excited about this because I’ve always wanted to see an osprey and never have. I got some nice pictures of them, and made a little video too.
Then I proceeded to yet another forest preserve, where I was photographing Great Blue Herons nesting. At this location, I saw the weirdest thing. I saw a goose, that thought he was Captain Jack Sparrow, trying to sail the Black Pearl upside down. It was hilarious!!! Check out this picture!
So that was last week, and this week was even more strange. This week I stopped by a preserve near work on Monday because I was in the area early. As I was walking, I noticed in the corner of my eye, a squirrel sitting motionless in a tree. Not so unusual, except that after taking numerous shots, and moving around to get different angles, I realized he still hadn’t moved. Then I saw why. The poor little guy had been attacked by something, and had talon marks and fur torn away. He was traumatized.
So I continued walking, and then noticed a tiny little faerie hole at the base of a tree. I wanted to photograph it, but it was obscured by some leaves. I walked over to move the leaves out of the way, and when I reached down to grab the leaves, this ferocious, growling, scratching monster jumped out at my hand and tried to bite my finger off!!! It growled more fiercely than a Asland, and it’s teeth . . . it’s teeth were HUGE . . . with fangs like the sabretooth, and claws like, like, like a dragon!!! (No kidding, except that I think it was a terrified squirrel protecting itself when I unkowningly nearly reached into it’s home. What I then discovered after my heart started beating again, is that someone had actually boarded up the hole, and something had eaten away part of the board to get inside.) After the viscious attack, snapped a quick photograph, only to discover magick creatures appear in my photograph!
And now for my favorite photograph taken in the last week. It’s a simple photograph, but for some reason, I really like it.
Thanks for reading!

Great Horned Owl’s Nest

A few days ago, a friend called me to tell me he knew where there was a Great Horned Owl nest with babies. I was T-H-R-I-L-L-E-D! Like many people, the Great Horned Owl is my favorite raptor. (Yes, I know you all thought it was the American Bald Eagle, but it’s actually the Great Horned Owl. Eagles are just easier to find!) So much so, that my logo prominently displays one. Yet, I’ve never seen a Great Horned Owl in the wild, . . . until today!

Today the mother owl wasn’t in sight, but you could hear her hooting nearby. We watched and watched for her, but she never appeared in the nest. The baby was quite active though. It appears there’s only one fledgling in the clutch. So I got some cute photos of the baby for today.

Here’s something my rennie friends might find interesting. While researching the scientific name for the Great Horned Owl, which happpens to be Bubo Virginianus, I learned that the latter part of the name is named after the Virgin Queen, her majesty Queen Elizabeth I.

A special thanks goes out to that friend who called me to let me know about this photo opportunity. Thanks dude!

Coopers Hawk Mating Pair

Coopers Hawk

Coopers Hawk

Knowing that I’m a bird photographer, and how much I love to photograph birds of prey, a friend called me recently to tell me a story of a close encounter with a hawk of some kind in her front yard.  She said this hawk swooped down to ground level, flew right at her, and then swooped away just before reaching her.  She sent me a photograph of said hawk via email that she took with her point and shoot camera, and it appeared to be a Coopers Hawk.  In the video below, I misidentified these birds as Sharp Shinned Hawks (Sharpies).  Thanks to Berni and Vicky for helping me to properly identify them. 

The next day I went to my friends house to photograph this hawk.  When I arrived, I learned that there are actually 2 hawks, and that they are occupying a nest in the tree across the street.  I spent about an hour photographing these hawks that are sometimes known as Coops.  Neighbors came out to talk to me when they saw my big fancy camera, and I learned that these Coops stole the nest they occupy from a couple of squirrels.  Those squirrels met an untimely end thanks to these Coops according to 2 of the neighbors.  I also photographed them the next day before work in the early morning sun (the golden hours).  I have lots of images that I hope you’ll enjoy. 

Coopers Hawk

Coopers Hawk

These birds are incredibly comfortable around people.  I’ve seen them swoop between children playing on the sidewalk, they swooped near my friend in front of her house, and they’ve flown around me as I try to track them through my viewfinder.  I’ve photographed them from as near as 8 feet above me in a tree. 

I’ve watched them eat their prey from a tree branch, gather nest material, posture themselves as a mating couple would, and call to each other with their sharp squeek of a call.  The most amazing thing I saw was when I was taking video of one of them with my own point and shoot, and the second Coop suddenly appeared in the frame, and proceeded to mate with the first Coop! 

Did you know that when a Coopers Hawk takes off to fly, it doesn’t open it’s wings?  It closes it’s wings, and dives towards the ground like a bomb, then opens it’s wings just before it reaches the ground and soars away.  That’s not something you learn in a book, and it’s been amazing to watch these birds long enough to learn that.   

Here is that video I mentioned, and the link to my gallery of images:



Eagle’s Nest Scouting Report

I only worked 4 hours today for some reason, so I took advantage of it, and bolted from work at 1PM to southern Illinois where the bald eagle nest is that I’ve photographed for the last 3 seasons. I wanted to find out if the eagles would return to this same nest again. They have! I saw 1 eagle when I got there, incubating the eggs (sitting on them in the nest). She just kind of looked around a bit. Not much else happening.

Oh! As I was walking down the road in my work attire on my way to the nest, in my London Fog trenchcoat (I looked like a businessman walking on the side of the road), a couple of attractive women in an SUV stopped because they thought I was broken down somewhere, but then they saw the binoculars around my neck, and realized what I was there for. They too were investigating eagle nests in the area. And wouldn’t you know it, I forgot to give them a business card! Darn!

It looks like the DNR have been prepping the eagle blind too. They’ve built a second viewing platform higher up on the hill, so you get a clear view over the platform below it. They still need to build steps into the hill so people don’t kill themselves trying to get up the hill to the blind. Oh well. At least they’ve built us this little viewing platform. 🙂