The “Owl” Cove

The “Owl” Cove

Hoot and Holla, the Garden’s resident Barn Owls, came back in February and raised a beautiful family of three owlets!

We had the opportunity to watch all three hatch and grow until they earned their wings and leave the nest in June!

Holla (Mom) kept a blog of the happenings, and even a Baby Book. You can read their story below and watch Holla’s video “Owl-bum” she left for us to remember them by until they return next spring.

More photos are being added, so check back often and watch as Hoot & Holla’s Baby Book is completed.

Watch Live Owl TV

Ms. Smarty-Plants has been documenting
Hoot & Holla on Social Media.

Watch Hoot & Holla live. 

Hoot & Holla’s History

You never know what
you’re gonna see at The Garden…

If you missed watching them grow up,
or you simply miss watching them,
this video is for you!

The story of Hoot & Holla
and their three owlets.


April 12, 2019 at 3:30 a.m.

April 15, 2019 at 9:30 p.m.

The “Owl Cove”, as told by Holla.


The Garden’s resident Barn Owls.

Holla’s final post for 2019!

Tuesday, June 19th 

Holla:     Hey Hoot, I meant to wish you a Happy Father’s Day this past Sunday—you sure earned it this year!

Hoot:     I know I had a lot of mouths to feed this time around.

Holla:     Yes, three beautiful owlets. I see they had a special Father’s Day gift for you, too.

Hoot:     They Did?! What was it?

Holla:     Well, for one thing, they started hunting for themselves, so you didn’t have to.

Hoot:     That’s true, last week they joined us on that hunting trip and learned the ropes. You’re a great teacher Holla. But you said, “one thing.” Was there something else?

Holla:     Yes, in case you didn’t check the nesting box lately, #1 earned her wings on Father’s Day and led the way for the other two. On Monday, #2 brought back food and shared it with #3, then earned his wings and flew out. And last night, #3, our baby girl, earned her wings and flew out.

Hoot:     Well that is a great Father’s Day gift Holla! I am so proud of them. And you did a great job tending the nest and owlets Holla. I’m proud of you too.

Holla:     Thanks Hoot. I couldn’t have done it without you! Now it’s just you and me, sittin’ in a tree.

Hoot:     Hey Holla, now you don’t have a nest to care for, so I get to take you hunting every night! Best Father’s Day gift ever!

Holla:     You’re such a romantic, Hoot.

Friday, June 14th 

Holla:     Hoot, I saw the cutest thing last night when I checked in on the owlets.

Hoot:     What’d you see Holla?

Holla:     Well, it seems #2, you know, the new “Junior?” Well anyway, he had some bugs or dirt or something on his neck and head and couldn’t get to it.

Hoot:     Ooh, I hate it when that happens–it’s downright irritating! What’s so cute about that?

Holla:     Because, just like when we’re together we can take care of each other, right? So, last night I saw both our daughters helping Junior out. It was so sweet. He just nested down on the floor of our house and the girls started grooming him—wasn’t that nice?

Hoot:     Well, it is nice to have help when those bugs get under your collar. The way I see it, Junior is a lucky guy.

Holla:     Why’s that Hoot?

Hoot:     Because he has two sisters, so they can clean him up in half the time!

Holla:     You’re always thinking Hoot—that’s what I love about you.

Friday, June 7th 

Holla:     I see what you mean about that grabbing the food from you on the perch Hoot. That happened to me last night.

Hoot:     You okay Holla?

Holla:     Oh, of course. But they are getting very strong, and noisy! I poked my head in to see what all the excitement was about and saw #2 and #3 practicing pouncing on a catch. I have to admin, #3 needs to work on coordination, but she is a cute little huntress.

Hoot:     I know, they are all getting skilled at pouncing. But did you see what happened when #1 practiced flapping her wings?

Holla:     Now, what happened?

Hoot:     Well, #2 & #3 were caught in an epic wind tunnel!

Holla:     Oh my gosh, no where to run and certainly no place to hide!

Hoot:     Exactly what I was thinking. You know when people say, “You could have knocked me over with a feather”?

Holla:     Sure, why do you ask?

Hoot:     Because I’m here to tell you, it’s possible!

Friday, May 31st 

Holla:     Hoot, did you hear all that commotion coming from the nesting box last night?

Hoot:     To be honest, I stayed as far away as possible.

Holla:     You did feed them though, right?

Hoot:     Well, that’s sort of what I mean. I would land on the perch and before I knew it, my “hunt” was grabbed out of my beak and into the box! That #2 is strong!

Holla:     Well, he is your son after all, Hoot.

Hoot:     But what about “Junior?”

Holla:     You mean our first hatched? You’d better apologize to your daughter for calling her “Junior.”

Hoot:     Wait, #1 is a girl? But I was so sure.

Holla:     You must check the tail feathers, Hoot. The oldest and youngest have bands of brown on their tail feathers—just like me. But the one in the middle—he’s all boy.

Hoot:     Well, no wonder he was so strong!

Holla:     I’m glad to say they all are Hoot. Our owlets are growing stronger every day. Soon they will hunt for themselves.

Hoot:     Then it’s just you and me again, Holla?

Holla:     That right. Just you and me under the starry night sky. We can do a little star gazing like those folks do in The Garden sometimes. It’s very romantic sharing it with you, Hoot.

Friday, May 24th 

Holla:     Hoot, I can barely fit into our home anymore?

Hoot:     Too much take-out food for dinner, Holla?

Holla:     No Hoot, it’s not me that’s bigger, it’s the owlets.! The other day I peaked in to see if they were sleeping, and they were. They were side by side and wall-to-wall! I can remember just a few weeks ago when they all piled up in the corner around my legs—remember my downy leg warmers, Hoot?

Hoot:     I remember. It sure looked cozy. You mean they won’t fit around your legs anymore?

Holla:     Not even close. Our first hatched is nearly as tall as me now. And they all have flight & tail feathers coming in. They look beautiful Hoot, and very healthy.

Hoot:     Well why wouldn’t they Holla. After all, they take after us, right?

Monday, May 13th 

Holla:     Hoot did you see all the people here last night for our friend Rick Dueñez at his Celebration of Life? He was on the composting team.

Hoot:     Yes, I did, and I really like those bags of lights.

Holla:     Hoot those are called luminaries!

Hoot:     Well whatever you call them they were pretty.

Holla:     I snuck out early and flew around to see everything from a birds-eye view, it was really nice.

Hoot:     It was such a beautiful night!

Sunday, May 12th 


Holla:     Hoot you remembered ????

Hoot:     Pretty hard to forget right now . . . with three hungry mouths to feed.

Holla:     Speaking of that, are we going out to eat tonight?

Hoot:     Umm… Holla I go out to eat every night!

Holla:     That’s right, but I sure have had fun hunting with you the last couple of nights.

Hoot:     Me too, Holla, and you were a BIG help!

Holla:     I know it’s not easy feeding so many hungry owlets, Hoot. You were keeping up pretty well until they got SO big. Did you notice how they sleep around me now?

Hoot:     Well, they’re usually screaming for food when I see them, but their too big to fit under you anyway, right?

Holla:     Yes, that’s true. But they did make great leg warmers on those cold, rainy nights we had.

Hoot:     Down leg warmers! Nothing but the best for you Holla.

Holla:     You know, just talking about it is making me a little sleepy. What do you say I sleep in this morning and spend the day with the owlets?

Hoot:     I think that’s a great idea Holla. After all, you’ve earned it, and it seems the perfect day for it.

Holla:     Why’s that, Hoot?

Hoot:     Remember? It’s Mother’s Day Holla. You spend the day with the owlets and I will take you hunting tonight!

Holla:     You’re such a charmer, Hoot.



Thursday, May 9th 

Holla:     Today was a busy day at The Garden. We had the Alzheimer’s group–they are so sweet. And we had Chula Vista Hills 3rd Graders! They had such a fun time!

Hoot:     Don’t forget the construction…we have one wall framed!!

Holla:     I know, I kept flying in and out of the opening! It was a hoot!

Hoot:     So many exciting things happening at The Garden. I can’t wait to see what happens next!

Tuesday, May 7th 

Hoot:     Holla what is all that filming I see going on at The Garden?

Holla:     The Garden is making some informational snippets to let everyone know how great it is here. I tell all my friends to come visit. Just the other night Ricky (raccoon) and his family showed up! I hope everyone tells their friends about The Garden!

Hoot:     Do you think they want to film us and put us on camera?

Holla:     Hoot, we are on camera 24/7 remember?

Hoot:     Oh that’s right I forget about that.

Holla:     Good thing our fans don’t. Did you see the “little ones” from Jamul Primary today? It was the K-K1 classes. They are so cute and so smart!

Hoot:     I was listening to them. They are smart and Ms. Smarty-Plants™ is pretty funny too!

Holla:     She does magic you know.

Hoot:     I know right?! I keep expecting the teachers to get wet, but she makes the water magically disappear. How does she do that?

Holla:     It’s magic Holla, magicians never tell.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Hoot:     Wow Holla you should see the new rock wall they are building around the corner! It has roots and rocks and all kind of neat stuff in it.

Holla:     I heard Pam and Paul talking to Eider and Ethan deMello about it a few weeks ago.

Hoot:     I heard it’s going to have sprinklers in it.

Holla:     Well it’s going to be “irrigation” Hoot, we are in The Garden.

Hoot:     I like to call them sprinklers it sounds more fun.

Holla:     Whatever! All the guests are going to love it!

Monday, April 29, 2019

Hoot:     See I told you it was going to rain!

Holla:     Yes, you did. I really like the rain, the kids (owlets) like to snuggle more when it’s rainy and cool.

Hoot:     Last night I think I saw #2 begin to eat leftovers!

Holla:     I know, they are growing so fast!

Hoot:     We need to pick names for them soon Holla, #1, #2, #3 and #4 aren’t so special.

Holla:     Maybe some of The Garden’s followers will send in some names. What do you think?

Hoot:     That’s a great idea I think they can send them into [email protected].

Holla:     Yes! I hope they come up with some good ones! 

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Holla:     Wahoo it’s Spring Butterfly Festival!  I love all the excitement and the music! Look Hoot there’s MSP she is getting ready for her Pollinator Party. Look at her face she has a butterfly and an owl on it!

Hoot:     I think she’s our #1 fan Holla.

Holla:     Probably, but we have lots of fans watching us on The Garden’s live feed, so behave yourself Hoot! I think the one they call “Doc” is a pretty big fan too!

Hoot:     Holla I am predicting it is going to rain tomorrow.

Holla:     Oh, really and when did you become a meteorologist?

Hoot:     I can feel it in my bones.

Holla:     Your bones are hollow Hoot!

Hoot:     Well I can feel something.

Holla:     Hoot will you make sure you double your food delivery tonight?  #1 is eating us out of nest and tree!

Hoot:     I’m on it Holla!

Friday, April 26th 

Hoot:     Wow something big is happening here at The Garden Holla.

Holla:     Yes it’s The Garden’s Spring Butterfly Festival tomorrow!  So much happening!

Hoot:     It looks like there will be lots for everyone to do…I heard MSPlants say she was going to get her face painted and dance in a Pollinator Party!

Holla:     That’s right, she has a Pollinator Party every year and asks all her Earth Heroes to come dressed as their favorite Pollinator!

Hoot:     Did you see all those cookies in the classroom?  They must be expecting a lot of people.

Holla:     They are, they usually get in the thousands.  They are going to have butterfly releases, lots of plants to buy, food, music and FUN!  By the way Hoot, please don’t eat any of the butterflies they release!

Hoot:     I can’t believe you said that Holla, I don’t eat butterflies I prefer rodents!

Holla:     Well just in case…

Friday, April 19th 

Holla:     Hoot did you see how big #1 is?

Hoot:     #1?

Holla:     Yes, our first hatched. We haven’t named them yet so I am referring to them as they hatch.

Hoot:     Well I’m not really sure how #2 is going to feel about that, but ok.

Holla:     They will be fine because we will name them soon or maybe ask our Garden friends to help name them!

Hoot:     Is it my imagination or did #1, #2, and #3 grow 5 cm overnight?

Holla:     They are growing fast. We only have about 56 days until they begin to fledge. I just love that phase. But I’m really looking forward to when they are about 1 month old so they finally look like an owl and not an “owlien” (alien). I think I’m going to wait until then to add pictures to their “baby book”!

Hoot:     This weekend is Easter Holla, have you had time to make the kids their baskets?

Holla:     What do you think Hoot?!


Thursday, April 18th

Holla:     Hi everyone! Sorry for the delay in blogging but we’ve been a little busy here! Whew!
… raisin’ these young’uns is a lot of work! You are awesome Hoot and I really like the variety of snacks you are bringing home.

Hoot:     You are doing a great job Holla, but you need stretch your legs once in a while.

Holla:     Funny you should say “stretch your legs.” I took the Stretch and Connect class here at The Garden with Jackie Gadd (love her)… look I created new poses: Hatch and Hover and Owlward Stretching Wing! Did you get it Hoot, Owlward (Outward)?

Hoot:     Yes I got it Holla. You crack me up sometimes!

Sunday, April 14th

Holla:     Hoot, I have been so busy I’m having trouble keeping up with my blog.

Hoot:     Well, I would help, by I have been pretty busy myself.

Holla:     Aren’t you having fun going out hunting?

Hoot:     Oh yeah, that’s a hoot, uh, well, you know what I mean. But it’s a lot of work…you keep telling me to bring more food. I know you like breakfast in bed, but don’t eat too much…you need to keep light on your talons so you can fly after the owlets grow up.

Holla:     I do love the take out you’ve been bringing home, but really, I barely have enough to eat with more mouths to feed.

Hoot:     MORE mouths?!

Holla:     Yes Hoot. You are now the proud father of two owlets. The second one hatched yesterday. And another is already starting to peck at its shell. You may have a family of five by tomorrow!

Hoot:     Wow, I better become a pro then. Up until now, I’ve just been winging it. Get it?

Holla:     Yeah, Hoot…I get it. And with that you’d better shake your tail feathers.

Thursday, April 11th

Hoot:     Holla everyone is asking me where you’ve been with the blog?

Holla:     I know Hoot…I’ve been a little busy here! But I’ve carved out some time to update everyone. I have a feeling we will have an egg hatched this week. You know Hoot it takes about 32 days and today is day 32.

Hoot:     Wow, I better get busy… now there will be two mouths to feed.

Holla:     Well Hoot you better count on SIX mouths to feed soon. They should start hatching every couple of days now.

Hoot:     I wonder if “Owlbertson’s” delivers???

Friday, March 22nd

Holla:     Hoot we ran into little “technical” difficulty with our camera but we should be making our YouTube debut this week! Stay tuned.

Hoot:     Really, Holla another “Reality Show”?

Holla:     Yes “As the Owl Cove Turns”, catchy name right?

Hoot:     Speaking of catchy, I’m on way to grab dinner. Get it, “grab dinner?” I crack myself up sometimes, Holla.

Holla:     Oh boy…

Thursday, March 21st

Holla:     It’s chilly again today. This weather can’t make up its mind.

Hoot:     I think climate change has something to do with that.

Holla:     Climate change…how do you know about climate change?

Hoot:     Ms. Smarty-Plants™ Holla!  I was listening to her talk about it today with Loma Elementary when they were here. She is really amazing and funny too!

Holla:     I know! She will be at Balboa Park tomorrow at 11:00 am near the Botanic Garden building. She is partnering with a very cool group called “OH San Diego” that stand for Open House San Diego. You know all the cool buildings we have here in San Diego?  Well they allow FREE access to them this Saturday like the Dick Laub NTC Command Center, Gaslamp Museum at the Davis-Horton House and a bunch more. Isn’t that great?

Hoot:     That is pretty cool. I wonder if they would like to put our owl box on their list: The Owl Cove at The Water Conservation Garden? We are a FREE garden!

Holla:     Probably not but if they do we really need to straighten the place up!

Wednesday, March 20th

Holla:     Guess is visiting today Hoot?

Hoot:     Whoooo?

Holla:     The Davila Day Deaf School! I love it when they come and today they are learning about US!

Hoot:     I don’t know what so special about us but OK.

Holla:     We are special Hoot, we can’t move our eyes but we can turn our head almost all the way around. We also are silent when we fly (to sneak up on our dinner).

Hoot:     Can’t everyone do that?

Holla:     No! That’s why we are pretty cool!

Tuesday, March 19th

Holla:     What a weekend Hoot we have 5 eggs!

Hoot:     It was pretty busy. I saw all the Docents/Volunteers here on Saturday and then that nice girl Brigette with all the seeds, was here teaching.

Holla:     There is so much going on at The Garden! I heard they are building a new classroom, literally heard!

Hoot:     Yes it will be so nice!

Monday, March 18th

Hoot:     Holla how are you doing?  It was a little chilly and last night.

Holla:     I’m good now that I laid egg #6.

Hoot:     Six! I better stock up on food tonight.

Holla:     Do you think Grub Hub delivers to our owl box?

Hoot:     No I’m pretty sure they don’t.

Holla:     Well it might be something for them to think about!

Monday, March 11th

Holla:     Brrr it was a little chilly this morning! Thanks for bringing me breakfast in bed Hoot (a nice rodent)! I’m glad you are cuddling with me and helping me keep the little ones warm.

Hoot:     With all the rain we’ve had the menu is plentiful.

Holla:     That’s good to hear because I was hoping for something different tonight!

Sunday, March 10th

Holla:     Wow look at all those tomato plants Hoot!

Hoot:     It’s Tomatomania again at The Garden until 3:00 pm.

Holla:     I hope the rain holds off.

Saturday, March 9th

Holla:     Hey Hoot, remember all that indigestion and reflux I was having? Well guess what? I laid an egg! Aren’t you so proud?

Hoot:     That’s awesome and I am very proud! I bet it’s a boy!

Holla:     You always think they are boys.

Hoot:     I can tell by the way he’s rolling around in here Holla.

Holla:     Hoot they all roll the same way, the floor is wood!

Hoot:     No I’m pretty sure the boys roll to the left.

Holla:     Oh geeze…I bet you have a name picked out too!

Hoot:     Yep! “Hoot Junior.”

Holla:     That’s really original Hoot. Maybe we should let our fans name them?

Hoot:     That’s a good idea.

Friday, March 8th

Holla:     It’s so nice to be home again at The Garden isn’t it Hoot?

Hoot:     Yes it is and the place looks just how we left it!

Holla:     Ahh “Home Tweet Home” in our owl box. I do think we need to tidy up a bit. I would like to rearrange things Hoot. Ccan you help me? I really want the mice pelts in the back corner.

Hoot:     Ok, tonight when I swoop in I’ll lend a talon.


April 13, 2019 at 8:00 p.m.

About Barn Owls:

Barn Owls live in open habitats across most of the lower 48 United States and extend into a few parts of southern Canada (as well as in much of the rest of the world). These include grasslands, deserts, marshes, agricultural fields, strips of forest, woodlots, ranchlands, brushy fields, and suburbs and cities.  They fly slowly over open fields at night or dusk with slow wingbeats and a looping, buoyant flight. They use their impressive hearing, aided by their satellite-dish-shaped faces, to locate mice and other rodents in the grass, often in complete darkness.

Barn Owls are usually monogamous and mate for life, although there are some reports of males with more than one mate. After the pair forms, the male brings prey to the female (often more than she can consume), beginning about a month before she starts laying eggs. Barn Owls defend the area around their nests, but don’t defend their hunting sites; more than one pair may hunt on the same fields.

Barn Owls put their nests in holes in trees, cliff ledges and crevices, caves, burrows in river banks, and in many kinds of human structures, including barn lofts, church steeples, houses, nest boxes, haystacks, and even drive-in movie screens. Unlike most birds, owls may use their nest sites for roosting throughout the year. (Info courtesy of

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