Spot the owls!

In the Home Depot here in Las Cruces, the shed that abuts the garden section—thus having free access to outside—has harbored for years a pair of Great Horned Owls (Bubo virginianus), the most widely distributed owl in North America and the second heaviest (after the Snowy Owl). Owls have been resident here for about 25 years (not necessarily the same pair), and have had multiple clutches.

These species are nocturnal, so there’s a good chance of seeing them if you visit Home Depot (a large do-it-yourself store) during the day. My host Avis had previously written about the owls and sent a picture (see here), but I wanted to see them for myself.

What I’ll do is show two pictures of the roosting birds and ask you to spot the owls, and then in the reveal (click “read more” below), show zoomed pictures of what I saw. The male was more visible than the female.

Okay, spot the male owl. This ain’t hard! But you wouldn’t see it if you didn’t know it was there!

And then the female owl:

Then click below:

Here’s the male, a magnificent creature:

As for the female, well, you can see her tail:

And where they nest. “DNI” means “do not inventory”, i.e., don’t disturb this nesting area:


  1. Posted April 28, 2018 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Nice to see that Home Depot respects the owls’ privacy. Or is that mandated by law? Inventory: 2 owls, one female, one male.

  2. Mark R.
    Posted April 28, 2018 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Seems strange that a pair of owls wouldn’t be disturbed by such an environment.

    • Posted April 28, 2018 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

      They’re WAY up in the rafters (that’s about a 15X zoom shot, far from any disturbance).

      • yazikus
        Posted April 28, 2018 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

        And as someone who lives in the forest- it is downright noisy most of the time. Cacophonous, sometimes.

        • JohnnieCanuck
          Posted April 28, 2018 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

          And those barred owls? You get one perched by the house and it’s going to be “Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you-all?”, all night long.

          Nosy and persistent.

          • yazikus
            Posted April 28, 2018 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

            Between them, the frogs, the other birds and the wolves… It sounds like a party!

            • Mike
              Posted April 29, 2018 at 8:09 am | Permalink

              That sounds great,were’s the Forest ?

              • Mike
                Posted April 29, 2018 at 8:10 am | Permalink


              • yazikus
                Posted April 29, 2018 at 11:31 am | Permalink

                It is great – the beautiful Pacific Northwest. The internet is terrible, however.

      • Mark R.
        Posted April 28, 2018 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

        Gotcha…from the nest photo it made me think they were on a top shelf or something, not up in the rafters.

  3. Michael Fisher
    Posted April 28, 2018 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    TWO MORE PICS BY AVIS from WEIT, 2012 [the last two pics in the WEIT post]. Very good of Home Depot to leave that stock untouched all these years – although it appears to be different stock today compared with 2012 pic.

    Very interesting that [according to the Great Horned Owl link] this species has almost white plumage to the north of its range [Canada] & the colours get darker incrementally in line with latitude. I wonder if that’s various established sub-species in action or something else going on?

    • Posted April 28, 2018 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

      At the equator here in Ecuador, they are very dark and have little or no rust color. Here they live in alpine areas and eat rabbits, in a habitat that is quite temperate though not seasonal.

      See Roger Ahlman’s photo of the Ecuadorian form:

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted April 28, 2018 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

        Lovely pic. Thank you.

    • Avis James
      Posted April 28, 2018 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

      I think the owls decide where to nest, and then Home Depot closes off that part of the stock. It changes year to year.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted April 28, 2018 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

        That branch of Home Depot should celebrate their guests – stick a pair of 20′ owl ‘horns’ on the outside of the shed & put owl eyes* in their name. Sorta like this:

    Posted April 28, 2018 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    I think that it’s great the employees are leaving the owls alone, as evidenced by the “do not inventory-nest” message on the pallets.Very classy on the humans’ part to try not to disturb the nest. Way to go! God bless you all.

  5. Robert J Kolesnik
    Posted April 28, 2018 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful creatures!

  6. Catherine breitfeller
    Posted April 28, 2018 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful birds. Thank you for protecting them 🦉🦉❤️❤️

  7. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted April 29, 2018 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    It should surprise no-one that telescopes sometimes become perches.

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