Monday, August 07, 2006

The Barred Owls Are Back!

Every summer, a pair of Barred Owls raise a chick or two on our property. They are a regular sight soaring across the lawn, dropping down to snatch some unseen critter, or just hanging out in the oaks or on the power line to the house.

This summer, they seemed absent. I could hear them call from the woods, but I was missing the closeup familiarity from previous years. Where were they? Had their nest failed this year? Did new, but pretty quiet neighbors disrupt their habits?


Then two days ago, I heard the distinctive whiney screechy call of the barred owl chick. It was nearby in my oaks, but out of sight.


Yesterday evening, just as I was carrying the "turtle nursery" up onto the porch, a barred owl swooped silently across the yard to perch in an oak just a few yards away.


The barred owl is back ...


... and boy is he ticked off!

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Rurality said...

I'm jealous. We hear them, but they never come visit like that!

Thunder Dave said...

Pretty cool! It definitely looked like he'd had enough of your picture taking. ;-)

roger said...

or is he posing for you? showing off his fierce face. the only owl we've seen here was, unfortunately, dead.

robin andrea said...

Excellent! I am so happy that your owls are back. What a treat. I haven't seen a live owl in the wild--yet. It's on my list of things to do! Wonderful shots. FC.

Laura said...

OH! I love these owls! I've never seen this type of owl in the wild either. I have seen the real small ones... can't think of the name of them at the moment. arrgh.

My daughter took a beautiful picture of an owl just the ones in these pictures at a bird sanctuary near us. THey look awfully similar. I'll look them up on some bird websites.

I also thinnk your camera just paid for itself with those pictures alone! Hope they make themeselves at home so you can get lots of photos of them from now on.
Very cool, FC!

Deb said...

Cool! I've heard owls occasionally in the woods here, but aside from the Great Gray Invasion of '05, I rarely see them.

Hal at Ranch Ramblins said...

Those are great shots of that owl. Owls are one of my favorite birds (especially the ones with those bright red eyes).

As an aside, I just posted an item about my experiences with Wildblue Satellite Internet service, of which you expressed an interest.

Abandoned in Pasadena said...

I've only seen owls a couple of times in my life and I suspect that a recent kitten kidnapping was done by an owl or a hawk at the home of the four bears blog.

Those are great shots...have you ever considered working for national geographic?

Floridacracker said...

This has been an annual event in our yard for as long as we've been here (1988). Reading the comments, I realize how lucky we've been to coexist closely with these big owls.

I was waiting for the lazer beams of death to shoot out of his head...

maybe it was tough guy look...i remember your dead owl :(

Thanks, I've seen a bunch and now realize that is a lucky thing. I found my first one by following the sound of screaming jays. They are great owl harassers.

That small owl was probably a screech owl...pretty tiny. Thanks for the kind words, I am enjoying the instant gratification and simplicity of digital photography.

Well, that's one thing, (Great Greys) that we'll never see here.

Thanks, I am heading to your site after I conclude my duties here :)

My mom says I learned to read on National Geographics (loved those tribal articles as a lad ;)...
... anyway, I did think (back when ANYTHING was possible) that I would work for NG one day.

rick said...

We have several in our neighborhood and they really get fired up sometimes. I like to talk back to them they really get loud and excited.One likes our oak tree and we see him often.Some say when you hear them its a call to start the feeding time for deer and other animals.

Wayne said...

Wow - very cool set of pictures. Congratulations on the return.

Our owl population is mostly barred owls too. I think they get quiet while raising young, and then resume their amazing calls after. I heard one a couple weeks ago for the first time in months.

Do you have great horned owls? That's about the only thing, other than human activity or a lack of food, that might drive barred owls out.

threecollie said...

Incredible pictures, I second the motion that the camera paid for itself. Are these the owls that ask, "who cooks for you, who cooks for you-u-u- sam cook?" If so we hear them at camp, but never see them. Down here in the river valley there are great horned owls around (which eat skunks, for which we are grateful and kittens, for which we are not). They are also heard but not seen, which makes getting pictures like yours all the more amazing.

Floridacracker said...

They do some weird cackle chatter sometimes.

I have never seen a horned owl here, but I assume they are in the area with lots of timberlands and refuges nearby.

Betsy said...

Barred owls say, Who Cooks For YOU, Who Cooks For YOU-all? but I suppose the calls vary a bit.

They also have some really hair-raising courtship calls. To make your blood freeze in your veins at 3 am!

Mrs. S said...

Why ticked off??

GORGEOUS creatures! I've never seen one so close before... and once again I'm jealous.

Floridacracker said...

Betsy's heard 'em and she's right on...blood curdling cacklewackle.

Mrs S,
I assure you, I gave him no cause. He sure isn't smiling tho...

LostRoses said...

Fabulous shots! The only owl we'll see or hear in our neighborhood is the Eastern Screech Owl (why it's out here in the West is beyond me). The first time I heard it I thought it was a horse whinnying. So of course we nicknamed it the horse owl.

Keep those pictures coming!

Floridacracker said...

Well, if there isn't a horseowl, there should be,'cause it's a cool name.
Thanks for the encouragement. I'll try not to let 'ya down.

Wayne said...

FC - I have sat out on the deck in the very early dawn and attempted a series of great horned owl calls. It was just a foolish lark on my part, but to my astonishment there appeared a half-dozen horned sillouettes peering down at me from the tops of pine trees surrounding the house. Kindof spooky, actually, but I was pumped.

benning said...

Owls are always ticked off, FC. Always bein' asked about Tootsie Pops would tick you off too!

Nice images. I like how he poses for you. ;)

Floridacracker said...

THAT is one cool story. I got this one to turn and look with my version of a barred owl hoot, but the posse did not show up.

Yes, the tootsie pop thing must get irritating.

fin said...

Sitting on the front deck, listening to the thunder roll by like distant traffic, I heard a watery song in the branches. A screech owl swooped away on silent wings. I tried to snap a picture of his 360 stare, but it came out too dark. My camera somehow recorded his adorable gargle. You can hear it if you crank the volume: