Long-eared Owls (Asio otus) יַנְשׁוּף עֵצִים

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).

Two Owls
The Third
Owl 1
Owl 2
Owl 3
The 3 Owls in the Dead Cypress Tree
The Cemetery and the Owl Tree

Many thanks to Alena for her help!!

Corrections and comments to: Jeff Finger