Magpies and other corvids are often on the dinner menu for Great Horned Owls. Specifically in this case I believe this one is a Northern/Subarctic great horned owl, Bubo virginianus subarcticus. Yet this magpie and a myriad of its kin as well as crows and ravens spent the day yesterday near our house bugging the heck out of this owl, often hopping from branch to branch around it. I guess they figured there is safety in numbers, and of course owls hunt mainly at night. However, Wikipedia reports: “In one case, though usually passive while being mobbed during the day, a great horned owl was able to capture and kill an American crow that was harassing it.” Like I said, tempting fate.
I mentioned the corvids were bugging this owl all day. I know this because I first noticed it going on about 9:30 in the morning when I heard a great cacophony of noise and saw a big murder of crows all flying towards the same spot when I was out for a walk. I followed them and took some photos and video with the small camera I had with me at the time. Late in the afternoon I returned in my car with my big camera and telephoto lens and found the owl in the same spot I’d left it earlier.
If you’re interested, I’ve posted a video I took earlier in the day on my web site. I’m pretty sure it’s in the running for the worst wildlife video ever, but it does show some of the other birds in the area getting in on the action. Here’s the link. It’s a pretty big file (24mb) so may play with a lot of fits and starts. If you think it’s worth it, you might want to right click on the link and save the file to your computer (click on “save link as” in Windows anyway–don’t know about Apple products). It will take a little while to download but then should be watchable without stalling.