Sunday, May 30, 2010
Almost every day this month, we've seen a Barred Owl (Strix varia) in our yard.
He has several favorite perches where our lawn dissolves into rocks. He usually perches about 8-12 feet (2.4 - 3 meters) off the ground.
We've seen him successfully hunt for chipmunks several times during daylight hours. (Warning: 1 somewhat gross chipmunk picture ahead.)
The reason we're so interested in the nest is that for a part of their life cycle, the young owls, also known as "branchers," supposedly perch together near the nest. To say we'd love to get photos of that would be an understatement!
We've found plenty of holes in trees, at least one of them with some surprising inhabitants....but we haven't figured out where the owl family lives.
That's OK. You know that I love owls, and having one visit our yard so frequently has been incredibly fun for me. Whenever I'm outside, I'm pretty sure there's an owl watching me.
Often blue jays alert us to the owl's presence. They'll dive bomb him, squawking to try to drive him away. Whenever we hear a crowd of jays, we grab binoculars and get another glimpse of "our owl".
Snowy Owl in December 2008
Great Gray Owl in April 2009
Eastern Screen Owl in January 2010