Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Creek corridor Barred Owls: Update!

Prey item looks like a species of sucker.

Bird activity this morning at Pheasant Branch Conservancy was slightly subdued, but I still managed to find 18 warbler species which included a singing Cerulean Warbler. At least one Black-throated Blue Warbler was still present and a Cape May Warbler continues to favor a particular hackberry tree near the frog pond on the west trail. Overall numbers have been dwindling the past few days, but I suspect the next big wave will arrive on Thursday.

I photographed Barred Owls for a couple of minutes this morning. I don't like to stand in their presence for very long because they're busy bringing food to their young and I want to keep disturbances to a minimum. Still, these owls are attracting a lot of attention from curious onlookers. One couple I spoke to drove up from Iowa to see this family of owls. A couple days ago I seized the opportunity to provide an educational moment and also let kids look at the owls with my spotting scope. They were in awe and it was cool to share enjoyment of these birds in the glow of their enthusiasm.

Youngster awaits a meal from its parents.

As you can see from the pictures, sushi was on the menu this morning. I remember the night I walked through Pheasant Branch and observed one of the Barred Owl fishing. Prior to that, I thought they only ate small rodents and birds. They are opportunistic predators. In addition to fish they also eat small reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates like crayfish and large insects.

All images © 2013 Mike McDowell

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