Britannia Conservation Area – Ottawa

Just a short post today.  I am presently processing my images from our recent trip to Maine but I wish to share an interesting and somewhat rare event in the birding and photography world.

I was in Ottawa the week of May 12 and went out for drive after a days work.  Based on information I found on local websites and resources, I learned that Britannia Conservation Area was a prime location for a variety of birds and the best place for warblers.  The prime time for bird watching is normally in the morning so it wasn’t surprising that I wasn’t encountering many birds.  Chimney Swifts were busy hunting near where I parked so I made a mental note to try and get some in flight shots.  I noted that several cars were parked in another location where trails led into the forest and there I met another photographer who was obviously busy getting ready for a major shoot.  We introduced ourselves and I learned that a Great Horned Owlet had left its nest and was at eye level and easily seen and photographed.  The friendly photographer was Bill Maynard who is a fellow nature photographer from the Ottawa area and his website is  We followed the trail aways and we met up with Bill’s friend and nature photographer, Mike Cummings.  Not far away, there indeed was the first closeup Owlet I had ever seen.  Only once before, I had actually seen Owlets but they were far away and obscured by foliage so this was a treat.  One of his parents was not far away and the photographers and bird-watchers all kept a respectful distance from the Owlet.  Its eyes were closed at first but after awhile, it started walking around on the log it was perched on.  Unfortunately, the Owlet was backlit but I made the best of the situation, took numerous photos and share a couple with you now.

Great Horned Owlet

Owlet 2

I was also shown where the nest was and the other Owlet was sitting in the nest about 35′ feet up at the top of a broken tree.  While I was watching this Owlet, one of the parental units flew over and sat with its offspring.  I couldn’t help but wonder how the first Owlet made it safely to the ground from such a great height but obviously it did.

Owlet in NestGreat horned Owl and Owlet

So I extend my appreciation to my new friends Bill and Mike for sharing this rare event with me and I hope to be able to return the favour one day.  Pay a visit to his website, he has some very interesting posts there as well.


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  1. Scott Martin June 3, 2013 at 5:54 pm #

    What a treat to see the Owlet so close and meet new photographers too. I met Bill with the GGO’s in February, so its a small world Arni.

    • Arni June 3, 2013 at 7:49 pm #

      I was wondering if Bill was the photographer you met, a small world indeed! Yes the Owlet was so cute and a joy to behold.

  2. Nath Rockhill June 4, 2013 at 12:21 pm #

    What wonderful photos. A real treat indeed. Any idea how old the young ones are?

    • Arni June 4, 2013 at 8:26 pm #

      Thanks Nath! I did a bit a research and the general consensus is that the Owlets are coaxed out of the nest onto nearby branches at around 5-6 weeks of age. They will taking there first flight out of the nest around 9-10 weeks age. I wonder if the one Owlet tried to fly or fell out of the nest? Thanks for stopping by!