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Last month we shared a story about a territorial owl in Salem, OR who was dive-bombing unsuspecting park joggers passing through its turf. Today we’ve learned about another unusual owl who seeks out people, this time apparently as a sign of affection. Meet the “Cuddly Owl of Noordeinde,” a stunning eagle owl who’s lately been surprising villagers in the Dutch town of Noordeinde by gently landing on the heads of passersby.

The large and handsome owl is surprisingly careful to not use his talons when making these cranial landings. After alighting on someone’s head the owl simply perches there for a minute or so before flying off in search of a new landing spot.

Some Noordeinde residents suspect the owl may have escaped from an aviary in Oosterwolde, which might help explain his extraordinary tameness. Birders and photographers from around the country are flocking to the town (sorry, not sorry) to catch sight of this remarkable raptor.

“Whilst photographing the owl, it did try to land one my head once,” said Shaefer to NL Times. “However, as soon as I lifted my camera to get a shot, the owl flew onto my neighbor standing by my side.”

Click here to watch a video of the Cuddly Owl in action.

[via Bored Panda and NLTimes]

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Spring is in the air!

This cool video was captured a couple weeks ago in Sequoia National Park’s Giant Forest. The hummingbird – called Anna’s Hummingbird – is getting nectar from a snow plant. Only found in California and a small piece of Nevada and southern Oregon, snow plants are a pretty rare sight. These plants lack the color green (and chlorophyll), so they nourish themselves on fungus found in forest floor soils. Video courtesy of Steven Bumgardner.

Great Horned Owl (male), Downers Grove, IL (April 2015) on Flickr.

Male Great Horned Owl near his two owlets in the nest, 2-3 weeks after hatching. Light was low, sky cloudy, trees interfering, so quality isn’t great. Still, I got to photograph the whole Great Horned Owl family in one one visit: mother, father, 2 owlets.

I’ve learned that some people consider it inappropriate to photograph active nests with eggs or young birds, as getting too close or even drawing attention to it could endanger the young birds or cause the adults to abandon it if they feel threatened. These photos were taken from a good distance, except for the male, who was basically above me. The nest is in a friend’s neighbor’s yard, in a busy neighborhood with people, cars, lawn mowers, dogs, etc. around all the time. I doubt my presence was any more threatening than what’s going on all the time around them. I never got close to the nest at all.