I saw a sign up for a raptors show when I was on my way to visit a relative. Of course I had to stop. The program was more than halfway through, but I was able to take these photos the short time I was there. It was in the basement of a building so the light situation was not good.
I love barred owls. I have followed a family in the wild for three years. I always say the mother owl found me. She flew right over my shoulder one day when I was walking. I returned to that area every year she makes herself known to me. I feel lucky. Seeing one this close up is great even if the light was bad.
I hope to see a barn owl in the wild, but realise that may be on a to do list for an England trip.
A wild bird rescue introduced these raptors. They are not falconers. I think most if not all of the birds for one reason or another are not capable of being in the wild. They may have been hit by a car, be partially blind, etc.
I was lucky enough to see one of these in a tree hole in the wild. Again, it was a thrill to see them up close.
I have seen peregrine falcons in the wild. They fly too fast for me to get a picture of one. I only got some of them perched on a cliff.
Your best view of these birds would be through a falconer or a rehabber who has an educational program. Take advantage of one of these programs, especially if you have kids. The children there were mesmerised.
What do owls like to feed their babies? Multiple times I have seen them bring in a chipmunk.
Chipmunks give away the owls when they are in their vicinity by a noise they make. A good thing for the other creatures in the forest, but a bad thing for the chipmunk. He tells the owl exactly where he is.
This owl seemed to be happy to fly to more open trees around me and show me her catch. Her babies were nearby, but hiding behind leaves. I wanted to stay and see if she would feed them in front of me, something I have not had a good view of yet. However, a thunderstorm was approaching. I hope to witness breakfast of dinner in the future. Have a great weekend!
One evening last week I hiked on a trail and was taken aback by the fact I saw him not far from the trail on a low branch to a tree very close to me. I almost missed him. I backed up and took these pictures, then walked away. I think he was faking sleep because he appears to be in hunting mode.
He occasionally turned around in different directions to spy chipmunks, squirrels , etc. that were moving around nearby.
Get out and enjoy nature. It may take you by surprise.
April showers bring May flowers as the saying goes. So far we have experienced a lot of cloudy days and a lot of rain. One day 3-4 inches in one storm. As a result it is hard to get out to walk. There are streams going over the trails in the woods where there have not been streams before. The trails are very muddy in spots. Here’s hoping for some better weather.
These are all taken with a zoom lens and heavily cropped.
I found this one the usual way. This was before sunset in a pine tree on a cold day. I had a hard time getting a good angle with the branches. They like to hide in pine trees this time of year when the leaves are not on the other trees yet. The owl’s mate was on a neighbouring pine tree.
How do you find an owl in the wild? Actually in my case the owl found me. I was hiking through the woods, which I have been doing a lot of lately on a lot of different trails, when an owl flew right over my shoulder coming from behind me. I have repeated found owls since so I will give you some of my tips.
The owl flying over my shoulder peaked my interest so I kept looking in the areas I hike. Look for an old growth forest with lots of older, thick trunked trees. If they have holes in them, this may be a forest to find some owls. Sometimes they take over nests of hawks, but others times they may nest in a tree hole.
Sometimes I have caught them by seeing movement through the woods. It was a parent hunting. They may fly from a tree to the ground, or from a tree to another tree. The breakfast of champions for owlets seems to be chipmunks. It may be because there are so many of them, or the fact they at times make a lot of noise thereby identifying themselves.
Most of the time barred owls I found do not make the typical “Who cooks for you?” call that is ascribed to them. I have heard a lot of other calls and sounds I have not heard on recordings. If you find them listen to the noise they make and try to remember it as it may help you locate them the next time.
A babies make a weak screech sound when hungry and calling for food. They may do this in early morning or early evening. If you find babies, commit the sound to memory. It will help you locate them in the future.
If you are quiet and aware you have a better chance of finding them. You will have more luck if you do not bring a dog with you. You will have more luck if you go by yourself or have a friend who agrees to be quiet while searching. Don’t have your phone sounds on. If you are preoccupied you may not hear them. If your sounds are on they may stay quiet. You have to be aware of your surroundings and listen to the sounds of the woods.
Sometimes other birds announce the parent owl’s whereabouts. I have seen bluejays going crazy loudly complaining and followed the sounds to find the parent owl. Sometimes that has led me to the owlets. I have not seen them harass the owlets in this manner, just the parents.
After the owlets fledge, the parents and owlets move around to different areas each day I have found. Expand the region you search in around the nest to locate them.
Parents would sometimes be nearby after they fledged, other times not. If you hear a hoot, check it out. They may be calling their mate or their young. You can not always count on them being nearby, unless it is feeding time.
The main advice I have to give is be quiet and respect nature. Do not get too close. Keep a respectful distance. Don’t tell too many people, as they will tell some etc. and the owls may leave and not return. I have heard one story of a whole group of photographers walking through the forest everyday following the owls around and the pair left, never to return. So enjoy nature, but respect nature!