The great horned owl at Nanmangalam
My first encounter with the Great Horned Owl, GHO or Bubo bubo was not so long ago at Nanmangalam.
Mr Ramanan, a veteran of many a GHO encounter, was there again recently, and captured this magnificent picture above. These large birds are quite something else. They breed post-monsoon, so maybe another set of chicks we shall soon see? We had seen some chicks during the bird race, earlier this year. Quite grown they were by then. Read about it here.Recounting an interesting story, Mr Ramanan narrated how, in the early days there were no roads around Nanmangalam, and the Velachery roads were all full of potholes, and in some places a mud track as well. The Nanmangalam scrub was not that thick either, and the planted eucalytus was also still young.
While inspecting the nest for recording the growth of the chick, the adult GHO clipped my ear! From that day onwards I used to wear a helmet whenever I approached the nest! May be my regular presence and the fact that I was not a threat to the chick, the adult bird became some what friendly. When ever I was alone or with MNS members or with lot of birds enthusiasts from abroad, the bird immediately with loud calls of "bubo bubo" approached us."
Then there is the "threat" display, where the GHO would call its mate and then the two birds would puff their feathers out spread their wings, and look as menacing as possible, making threatening sounds, and swaying back and forth on their legs.
I sincerely hope the GHOs continue to survive and thrive in the Nanmangalam quarries.