Long-eared Owls (Asio otus)
March 12, 2004
This morning I got a call from Alena Kacal of the Jerusalem Bird Observatory
(JBO) saying, "Three owls are posing in the tree by the cemetery."
The owls are a family of adult and juvenile Long-eared owls which have
been seen a great deal this season. It is already hard to distinguish
the adult and fledgling owls, but the pictures below are probably the
young ones. The baby owls were first noticed in their fluffy plummage
on February 2, 2004, but they were probably born around January
1. Long-eared owls fledge (leave the nest) around 30 days, and stay
with their families for several weeks after leaving the nest. They
nest in abandoned crows' nest, and they primarily eat small birds
and mammals. The owls below may already be old enough to be catching their
own food. At night, it is quite easy to hear them in the area. A few weeks
ago, one could still hear the young calling to their parents for food.
The cemetery is a small little-known cemetery near the JBO that many
here in Jerusalem have never seen. It was used for burials from 1948
until about 1950, right after the founding of the State of
Israel. From 1948 until 1967 Jews could not visit or have burials in
the traditional spot, the Mount of Olives, which was in territory held
by Jordan. This small cemetery was used temporarily during the War of
Independence and shortly thereafter, and there is a plaque nearby
telling of other graves being relocated from here some years
thereafter. This spot is about 300 meters from the Knesset Building,
and a much shorter distance to the Supreme Court building, seen in the
photo below. (The side of the Supreme Court Building is on the left,
and the Crowne Plaza Hotel is the building on the right.) For those
who know the area, it is hidden away in the forest above Gan Sacher
just a few feet from the fenced dog area.
Clicking on the thumbnails below will show low resolution pictures (75
- 150 Kb per image).
Clicking on the captions below will show
high resolution pictures (250 Kb - 1.1 Mb per image).
Many thanks to Alena for her help!!
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