I say the great horned owl's nest because it's so easy to see that it's become one of the Fort's main attractions - at least to birders.
The nest is on the branch of a huge live oak about 20 feet above the sidewalk behind the Visitor's Center. It is so centrally located that everyone who takes the boat tour must walk beneath it. The backyard slopes up from the live oak and on that rise the National Park Service has set up scopes with a view straight into the nest. The father owl always perches nearby and there's a scope on him too. You can see the entire family close up. Amazing!
The day I visited, mother owl was brooding her baby who sleepily stirred on the nest. The baby yawned and blinked. He stretched and poked at the ferns with his beak. Mama sheltered him with her wing and Papa watched from his nearby roost. All was peaceful. This baby is well protected by two powerful adult owls with sharp beaks and talons and by signs and explanations from the National Park rangers.
Chuck took plenty of pictures while we were there and returned a week later to see how much the baby had grown. Click on the photo to see what he looked like last weekend.
(photos by Chuck Tague)