Hatchling Great Horned Owl
This baby owl was less than a week old when I took this pic last week in the Eastern Fremont Co area. Because it was so young, I took a few pics and left the area in less than 5 minutes so the pic is not as good as it would have been if I would have been more concerned with getting good photos than in reducing disturbance. Today, with the babies (now 2-3) a little older and not as terribly vulnerable as when I took this photo, I stayed for 10 minutes and found places to take photos without branches in the way (I will post those tomorrow). This was a good-enough pic--a better pic would not be worth the risk to the hatchling. Though this is a close-up view, I shot the pic from about 50 feet away then enlarged it.
A baby owl this young is vulnerable to overheating, or getting too cold. The mother owl, that would provided protection from heat or cold with her insulating feathers, had flushed. Though it was not a hot day I didn't want to take a chance with this very young hatchling. Fortunately, this nest is located on private land with very limited access by people.
Why is this a hatchling--it is covered in all white down. This will start being replaced on it's back with grayish down from ages 7-21 days. Do double-click on the pic for an even close-up view. SeEtta