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Great Horned Owl
Bubo virginianus
Copyright David Seibel, 2011 (#4866) | Send Comment

Camera: Canon EOS 1D Mark IV
Exposure: 1/60 sec, f/16, ISO 2000
Lens: Canon 500mm f/4L IS + 2x II TC
Date: February 28, 2011
Location: Overland Park (Johnson County, KS)

Description: This nest was occupied in previous years by a pair of Red-tailed Hawks. Located high in a tree on the grounds of a retirement community, it is highly visible and has generated a lot of interest among the residents. The single chick is nearly grown, and the adults generally spend little time at the nest during the day, but this parent (the female?) returned without food on a brisk night and sat with the chick for half an hour or more. Allopreening (mutual preening) is relatively common among owls, but the term is usually applied to interactions between two adults or siblings rather than an adult preening a chick, as here. In nonscientific terms this looks for all the world like nuzzling or a bit of TLC.