Punked by a Great Horned Owl

I have been birding for almost a year now and have seen many examples of wonderful birds, but a few types have eluded me thus far.  One of those is the owl.  Over the last few weeks I have read several different local birding reports from birders who have spotted owls.  Burrowing Owls have been seen at local airfields, a Great Horned Owl was seen at a nearby park and another at the Dump Marsh close to my home.  During the last few weeks I have driven from one side of the county to the other just hoping to get a glimpse of an owl, but I have come up empty.  So you can imagine my excitement when I over heard some coworkers yesterday talking about an owl they had seen in the tree behind our office.  I grabbed my camera and raced out to see if it was still there.  To my great exhilaration and surprise, there he was.  The first thing I noticed was the prominent ear tufts, telling me it was a Great Horned Owl.  The downy feathers around the neck and smallish size suggested that it was a juvenile.  Here are some photos.

Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus)
The downy feathers around the head indicate this is still a juvenile.
There was a lot of down, but if you look closely you can see a big red watchful eye.

After spotting the owl I went to lunch with my brother, who had stopped by my office just as all the commotion was beginning.  He seemed a little perplexed about all the fuss about the bird, and I was hoping that he didn’t think that taking bird pictures was all I did at work.  I took a longer than normal break and occasionally during our lunchtime discussion I allowed my mind to wander back to the owl.  I can add this to my life list AND my year list…  When I got back to the office I’ll quickly go online to positively ID it before continuing to edit that stupid report… I wonder how my photos turned out…  This is going to be a great blog entry….

I returned to office and one of my coworkers asked me if I was going to blog about the owl and suggested that I might want to wait a day or two.  Huh?  Another one looked away quickly when I mentioned that I was going out to see if he was still there.  Then my boss mentioned to me that a great amount of work went in to that joke.  Joke?  Yep. It turns out that the owl was a hoax.  My good friend CJ had climbed high up into the tree the previous evening to plant it there.

At first I was pretty mad, but when I thought of CJ twenty feet up a tree branch planting the owl, I couldn’t help but laugh.  I got punked!  Everyone at the office played it off perfectly and I never suspected a thing.  Here are some more photos of the juvenile Great Horned Owl and a video of the most gullible birder in the world.

Punked!
Me and the Juvenile Great Horned Owl
The owl now lives atop the monitor in my office.
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2 thoughts on “Punked by a Great Horned Owl

  1. Whoa, thanks for the good laugh.You have such nice co-workers :-DHilarious 😀

  2. Glad you got a laugh.

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