Thursday, September 03, 2009

The Barred Owl

Our birding trio has a saying: "Any day with an owl is a 'good birding' day!" However, what Sylvia and I witnessed this morning went well beyond this shared sentiment. When we first came upon this Barred Owl, it appeared blissfully at rest. If I were an owl, basking in warm sunlight on a cool morning is precisely what I would be doing!

After admiring the sleepy bird for a few minutes, it stirred and began to preen. While it was inspecting its feet, something on the ground caught its attention. It was super cool watching it twist its head nearly upside-down in an effort to zero in on its prey. Suddenly, the owl dropped from its perch and landed in a patch of tall grass adjacent to the trail. Our view was obstructed, but we didn't want to spook the owl and kept ourselves concealed behind some trees.

After being on the ground for several minutes, it the owl eventually flew back up to a new perch. This time its flight attracted the attention of a group of Blue Jays and a brief mobbing ensued. We didn't observe whether or not it caught its prey, but I was able to digiscope some of the best Barred Owl photographs I've ever taken:

© 2009 Mike McDowell