Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Owlapalooza Part One

The barred owls who live here at PFHQ are so accustomed to our comings and goings, that for the most part, they seem to ignore us.

We are too big to eat, too slow and earthbound to be a threat, and too diurnal to be worth a second 180 degree glance.

Huge oaks crowd up against our house and this brings the owls in, often right at our doorstep.
THAT is the subject of Owlapalooza Part Two, by the way.

They swoop by the living room windows every evening before sundown ... ( "There goes the owl"), and one is calling even now as I type this sentence at 1930 hours.

The subject of this post is a young barred owl who really likes hanging out at the tiny watering hole I installed in the palm forest a few years ago.

This owl is small in stature and fluffy to a fault ... that is why I refer to it as a young owl. Barred owls are BIG birds and this one just seems smaller than normal,.

Plus, it is that time of year for juvenile delinqowls to be hooting and cutting up.

I knew, (as in had a strong hunch), that this owl would be sitting on a low branch near the mini-pond and sure enough, he did not let me down.
In the heat of the day, the shade of the palms and the tall oaks seems to fit the bill for an owl in need of a cool spot.

Plus, you never know when a delicious palmetto bug (aka hideously fat roach) will come crawling out from a fallen sabal palm frond.

Or maybe the leopard frogs that use the mini-pond will forget to duck.

While I was watching the owl, but with camera focused elsewhere, ( you see, there was this armadillo ... ), the owl harfed up this owl pellet.

As soon as it hit the ground, I was on it.
I scooped it up in a bit of pond frond and carried it back to the house to dry out.

I haven't picked through it yet, but there are a bunch of insect parts in there and the more obvious ones look like roach.

After it dries a little more, I will pick it apart and post an update.

I know, I know ... eeeeeuuuuuu.

Man up, you weenies!

Here's a little video of the whole encounter ...

... minus most of the armadillo of course.


Lisa at Greenbow said...

You are so funny. I like to pick apart owl pellets. Around here I usually find little mouse heads, arms, legs etc in them. A friend of ours had 4 young Barred Owls in their trees for several weeks. They must have fledged not far from there. It was fun to go over and listen to them begging, watching the parents come in with food. Wish you would have got that armadillo. I don't get to see them very often.

Sayre said...

Very cool stuff. We had lots of owls around here last year. This year they seem to have thinned out a bit. I only hear them every once in a great while now. Hopefully they've gone to find some place a little cooler but will return soon.

I'd go through that owl pellet too! Perhaps you should collect them and use them in your classes?

robin andrea said...

Great video and such a wonderful owl. I never get to see owls. Not sure why, but our paths don't ever seem to cross. So, I'm really glad to see yours, and I love the editorial comments in your video!

Thunder Dave said...

If I've said it once I've said it a thousand times: you crack me up!

Miz S said...

I love owl pellets! Although, I have to say, I have never seen a fresh one before and, ugh. I hope you will find a little mouse skull or something cool.

Dina said...

Love the story. To have them right out your door is pretty great. I saw my first one in the wild this past spring and was so excited. They're pretty limited around my area. We do have great horned ones though.

You should name him if he countinues to hang around. Maybe Hooty (unless you didn't like their music).

Suwannee Refugee said...

I did the same thing to a pompano I recently caught. I emptied its stomach to find a bunch a half digested shrimp. I guess it should have stuck to shrimp but it wanted my finger mullet.

Floridacracker said...

Armadillos are thick as fleas around here. Next time I get the chance, I will film them. If you search PF for them, they have shown up here often :)

I will speak to this owl about a cooperative agreement.

I sometimes hesitate to post another owl story, but dang, they are neat.
I am loving exploring the fun features of YouTube.

That is because we are both quite insane.
Blame it on Dorm 68 at UWF.

Miz S,
I've never found such a fresh one before either!
I have finished my inspection ... no vertebrates in there.

Now if I could just take brilliantly crisp, clear photos like you!
I'm ready for a megapixel upgrade.
Yes, Hooty is fine. I've always liked their tunes.

Floridacracker said...

Nobody can resist finger mullet.

Julie Zickefoose said...

This is fast becoming my favorite nature TV show. Ever since John Acorn's show "Acorn, the Nature Nut" left Animal Planet, there's been a void. FC, you're just the guy to fill his giant shoes.
Sleeves on your Amazon wish list, har!
And color this Ohioan confused about finger mullet. It conjures up some very strange images for me.

Floridacracker said...

Hey Zick!
Finger mullet are mullet the size of ... (drum roll) ...your finger!
Young mullet that size are wonderful bait in saltwater.
Predatory fish can't resist them.

Suzanne said...

It is so much fun to visit PFHQ. It seems to me that you live in paradise or darn close. I'm with Julie on the Animal Planet idea. I used to love Acorn, the Nature Nut and think your brand of info, humor and love of nature would be so much fun to watch. I can't tell you how glad I am that you are a teacher. My best teachers were ones that loved what they did. I appreciate every bit that you share.

Floridacracker said...

Now, there you go ... making my day!
Thank you so much for the kind words.