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Old 05-05-2009, 08:48 PM   #1
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Default Visit from a barred owl

Sunday afternoon, a barred owl flew down & perched on my swimming pool slide while he hunted.

We'd been dry for several weeks and needed rain, and a BIG storm (it hailed) was about an hour away; the sky was getting dark and it was black in the distance. I was puttering in the garden trying to plant the last of my winter seedlings. He flew to the top of an electric post in the corner of the yard, and was immediately mobbed by two mockingbirds and a Carolina wren. He was peering so intently into the yard around my swimming pool, ignoring the mobbing mockingbirds & wren, so I knew something was up. For a while, we looked at each other, eye to eye ... cool. He flew down to the hand-hold on the swimming pool slide, and sat there, watching the edges of the pool very intently, for about 10 minutes. The pool is full of bullfrog and/or leopard frog tadpoles, some starting to get legs, and it's visited by quite a few frogs & toads. Mr. Owl has obviously hit the jackpot.

The mockingbirds wouldn't give up. They all but landed on his back and pecked him on the head. After a while, I gave up on planting and went back inside to tell my husband & get the camera; we came to the door with the camera, and Mr. Owl got nervous & flew off. So I don't have a pic for you. But wow! Quite a few times we had long eye contact. Cool bird!!!

I did go out today & put more shelter around the pool for my emerging froglets. They don't have front lets yet, but the hind legs are coming in.

Can owls actually fish? Could he get the tads when they're coming up for air, or maybe even the goldfish? Or is he just waiting for them to emerge & hunting adults who're coming to lay eggs? Lizards, skinks, and a few snakes are around, too.
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Old 05-05-2009, 08:57 PM   #2
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He'll be back. I've seen one grab a bullfrog. I've not seen any take from water. They tend to hunt at a time when I'm not normally out and about. With so many water gardeners who have koi, you'd think we would have heard people complaining about owls eating their fish. This is a question for midwesternerr.
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Old 05-05-2009, 10:56 PM   #3
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What a cool experience, Eq! However, it may not bode well for your pond critters!

Around here heron are on the Police Wanted List because of their theft of Koi from neighborhood ponds! Heron flew over the condo today.
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Old 05-05-2009, 11:08 PM   #4
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Birds of prey are so awe-inspiring, aren't they?
Just seeing them is magnificent, but eye contact is beyond words.

Just have to share these two encounters

My recent experience with a young red tail.
I saw it land and gradually made my way closer until I was leaning against the tree he/she was at. I couldn't be any closer unless I climbed the tree. It was on pretty low branch only about 10 ft from the ground.
We just sort of hung out for a while (It didn't know what to think of my down booties).
I couldn't leave until it did.

I always wanted an owl encounter, and in 2007 I got my wish - BIG time.
The snowy owl was hanging out at the piermont pier. So one morning I grabbed some coffee, dressed warmly and took a short walk.
When I got close to the end of the pier, I saw a few photographers with big lenses. I looked up, and in a tree, right by the path (not way out in the river on the pilings) there it was.
and those eyes! wow!
I literally had tears in mine.
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Old 05-06-2009, 07:21 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bubbleoffplumb View Post
Birds of prey are so awe-inspiring, aren't they?
Just seeing them is magnificent, but eye contact is beyond words.

Just have to share these two encounters ...

I literally had tears in mine.
They ARE awesome.

As a volunteer wildlife rehabber, I tended numerous barred owls with concussions. They'd fly down to the roadside at night to catch prey (a mouse? a frog) then fly into a car or get hit by it. The concussion would blind them, so they needed food, shelter, and sometimes meds. Occasionally I'd be lucky enough to tend one until it recovered & could fly & hunt again. Blind, they couldn't feed themselves for the first few days or week. I'd offer a piece of meat (with vitamins/meds as needed) on forceps. Surrounding the mouth are stiff feathers, pointing out. When I gently brushed those feathers, their instinct was to turn & bite/eat, so they were very easy to feed. Some of the large birds (I'm remembering a red-tailed hawk, a snowy egret, a barn owl) maintained a very large fear of me. But the barred owls quickly seemed to sense I was helping them. Of all the birds I tended, they were my favorites. A few weeks of gentle tending, and they were ready to go.
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Old 05-06-2009, 10:23 AM   #6
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Quote:
A few weeks of gentle tending, and they were ready to go.
Thank you for caring enough to complete wildlife rehabber certification to be able to provide this invaluable service to all of us.
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Old 05-06-2009, 09:18 PM   #7
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Thank you for caring enough to complete wildlife rehabber certification to be able to provide this invaluable service to all of us.
I was just a volunteer wildlife rehabilitator. I changed jobs, moved to a different state, and just couldn't work it into my life anymore. All I have to offer now is 4 years of wonderful memories.
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Old 05-06-2009, 10:45 PM   #8
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"just a volunteer"??? Volunteers are golden. Once a rehabber always a rehabber. It's in your blood even if you aren't active any more.
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Old 12-14-2013, 09:35 PM   #9
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While you've been out watching the snowy
Visit from a barred owl-p1020175.jpg
We're being watched by the barred!

Check out HIS vocals Barred Owl, Sounds, All About Birds - Cornell Lab of Ornithology
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Old 12-14-2013, 10:03 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by havalotta View Post
While you've been out watching the snowy
Attachment 39755
We're being watched by the barred!
Great shot, havalotta.

With all of the talk of owls lately, I'm realizing I never see them. Maybe that will change as I continue to make improvements to th property...or, maybe they are already around, and I just have to watch for them.

Great looking bird. Very cool.
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