After yesterday’s early morning run-in with a raptor, both owls scanned the sky vigilantly in the minutes after sunrise. The First Owl stepped out from under its dense canopy of dried vegetation, which formed a kind of safety retreat, and followed a bird overhead from one end of the horizon to the other. The Second Owl, perched in its bare spot on top of the fenced area, did the same. In both cases the bird they were tracking was invisible to my old human eyes, but the owls very clearly had them in focus. I’ve seen the owls give a casual glance to flying seagulls, crows, pelicans, and shorebirds, and ignore them. When the owls lock onto an overhead flier like this, they very probably recognize from the shape and wingbeat pattern that this is a bird to be concerned about. Fortunately, as long as I was observing, no attacks occurred, and each owl soon relaxed and resumed normal inactivity.
I was asked why my recent photos of the First Owl showed so much orange color. Answer: They were taken minutes after sunrise, in the first rays of the morning sun, which in recent days have been a rich golden color. I move to observe the Second Owl maybe half an hour later, when the light has cooled.