(Yeah, it's the latter.)
"She was 'staring me down' because she had eggs to protect," said Dennis Demcheck, the USGS employee who snapped the photo of a female Great Horned Owl nesting in a Live Oak tree in southwest Louisiana. Via The U.S. Department of the Interior:
@USGS was in the area to study the effects of the insecticides on biotic communities in the Mermentau River basin. The Great Horned Owl is a good example of how a healthy biotic community can support a wide variety of wildlife including top predators like this owl.
While they're down there, the USGS should mount an investigation into the effects of SUVs on biotic communities in the area; I hear those can be kind of rough on owls.