Whoo whoo’s ready for Halloween? As the sun sets and costumed candy hunters emerge, so will owls like this great horned owl @mypubliclands Marion Creek Campground in Alaska. Great horned owls are crepuscular, meaning they are most active at dawn and dusk. Their excellent night vision, acute hearing and silent flight makes them practically magical. Their eyes don’t move in their sockets, but they can swivel their heads more than 180 degrees to look in any direction, making them nature’s perfect, lovable creeper. Just remember: even when you’re not watching wildlife on public lands – they’re watching you. Muhaha! Happy Owloween! Photo by Kerry Howard (www.sharetheexperience.org).
The deep canyon of the Snake River in Idaho, with its crags and crevices and thermal updrafts, is home to the greatest concentration of nesting birds of prey in North America – and perhaps, the world. To preserve this remarkable wildlife habitat, the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area was established in 1993. Visitors are often treated to the sight of hawks, owls, eagles and falcons launching from their cliffside aeries to soar and hunt on warm air currents rising from the canyon floor. Photo by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management (@mypubliclands).
The largest of the eared or tufted owls in North America, the great horned owl is a wonderful and fascinating bird. Covered in extremely soft feathers that insulate them against cold weather and help them fly very quietly in pursuit of prey, their short, wide wings allow them to maneuver among the trees of the forest. Rarely seen because of their camouflage coloring, their calls are familiar across the country. Photo of a great horned owl in Louisiana by Dennis Demcheck, U.S. Geological Survey.
Wooo! This bald eagle at Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge in Illinois is cheering on America in the Winter Olympics. You can easily spot the massive nests of eagles in the bare trees during winter at the refuge. They also make their presence known with daring dives, wide wing spans and screaming calls. We’re glad they’re on our team. Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Two immature bald eagles battle it out in the skies above Llano Seco, which is part of the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex in California. Aggressive hunters and scavengers, these young eagles are fighting over a duck clutched in their talons. What an incredible sight! What’s your favorite eagle sighting? Photo courtesy of Steve McDonald.
Need something to get you through Monday? Here’s a pic of an adorable clutch of baby peregrine falcons on banding day at Cabrillo National Monument in California. At birth, peregrine chicks weigh about 1.5 ounces, but they grow quickly – they can double their weight in just six days. They reach nearly full size after only seven weeks. Cool fact about peregrine falcons: They are among the fastest birds, flying at up to 55 mph and diving at more than 200 mph when striking avian prey in mid-air. Photo by National Park Service.
An eagle flies through a rainbow as a storm clears one of the many small islands on Lake Vermilion. The fifth largest lake in Minnesota, Lake Vermilion contains over 75 small public land islands covered with birch, pine and spruce. Some of the islands have boat-in campsites, and many are only large enough for one site, ensuring that you can have an entire island to yourself! The Bureau of Land Management works with the Bois Forte Band of Ojibwe (also referred to as Chippewa) to protect traditional-use areas and cultural sites on the islands. The lake is popular for fishing and contains a diversity of species including largemouth bass, muskellunge, northern pike and perch. Photo by Bob Wick, (@mypubliclands) Bureau of Land Management.
Today we’re celebrating our national bird, the bald eagle, for American Eagle Day. On June 20, 1782, the bald eagle was placed at the center of the Great Seal of the United States and remains a symbol of our proud country. After a dramatic recovery, bald eagles are found in every state but Hawaii, soaring high and inspiring the nation. Photo from the Gulkana Wild and Scenic River in Alaska by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management (@mypubliclands).