Owlets

Do you like surprises? It depends on what it is I guess. For almost week I saw one baby owl in the tree hole, so I thought there was only one. However, one day I arrived one was in a neighboring tree having most likely fledged that day, and one was looking out the hole. Later, another head popped next to the owl in the hole. So all in all there were three owlets.

It was a suprise to see another head pop out.
The second one fledged and hung around the nesting tree. One left to go. It took him another two days before he flew out of the nest.
I think he was trying to figure out what to do next. Or maybe he was waiting for his sibling.

Seeing three owlets was definitely a surprise and a good one at that. Be quiet on your walks through the woods. It is amazing what you can witness.

Self- Isolating Barred Owl

I have always wanted to see an owl in the wild. This past week or so I got my chance. I have caught sight of one each day on a walking trail in a nearby park. I wasn’t sure which kind of owl it was, so I asked my birding friends. The conclusion was a barred owl. The call I have been hearing was not the typical call a few days into finding them. The ones I have sighted use a different call.

Barreds owl have brown eyes and a small yellow beak. It is named after the bars on its chest.They have no ear tufts.

Standing at attention, but more likely stretching his legs.

Barred owls live in older growth forests where they have a better chance of nesting in a tree cavity. This park has lots of trees that fit that category. They also like to be near water. This park is on the Hudson River in New York. They will take over nests of other birds though as well.

Yawning or craving dinner?
Sun-bathing

I am so happy I had the chance to see an adult and the baby owl. The who-oo of a parent led me to see them and the baby. I kept a respectful distance. While you enjoy nature, be quiet and be observant, you never know what you will see.

Caught a Fish

It has been raining a lot in New York. I have been working from home. Mornings, which are the best time to go out and view these birds of prey, have been out. Many times on the weekend, like tomorrow, the weather will be bad. Sometimes I am able to go down after work and view for a half hour or an hour. I have not seen them bring in a fish this Spring. Normally I spend my Easter Break watching this nest, but our break was taken away from us. These pictures were on one of those not so great weather days around 6 p.m. Although the lighting is far from optimal, I feel lucky to have seen this eagle bring one in from the Hudson River. Enjoy the parks! Enjoy wildlife!

They have one eaglet in the nest. So I don’t see them bring fish in as much as last year.

Tale of Two Nests

A few decades ago there was only one nesting pair of eagles in the New York. Today there are close to 500. Environmental policies banning DDT enabled this increase.

This first nest is along a major commuting highway that takes many drivers to New York City. They allowed us in to work for a little while on one day so I stopped briefly on my return. These first pictures are taken from the shoulder of the highway.

When the leaves are off the trees this nest is viewable as you are traveling south on the highway. It is on land that juts out into a lake. Since one parent seems to linger a lot in the nest I assume there may be a young one.
One parent briefly joined the other on a nearby tree.
It is the other one’s turn to sit in the nest.

This second nest is next to the Hudson River south of me. If you are lucky as I was today you will catch one of the eagles on a tree near the hiking trail in the woods as I did. The nest is too far away and more protected for some reason than the other nests are that are in parklands.

This pair’s nest is a few miles south of me next tot the Hudson River. You can not get near the nest, but I was able to see them perched on a tree together briefly near a hiking trail. They did not leave the nest unattended for long, so I assume this nest may have young ones as well.
This one was vocal.

It is good to see the population thriving in recent years. The Hudson River seems to draw them to build their nests. If the weather is nice next weekend I hope to see another local nest I have heard about. Stay safe and stay healthy.

Self Isolating in the Wild: Do Hawks eat Eagles?

Do birds eat other birds? Would a hawk eat an eagle? I know birds will eat other birds. I am still not sure I know the answer to the second question.

Mother eagle was sitting in the next with the young baby eagle (maybe a week or two after it hatched). Along came a hawk circling over head then proceeded to buzz around the nest. As he got near the nest the mother eagle started loudly screeching.

The hawk is doing a fly over. The mother eagle’s white head is just visible a tad in the bottom center of this photo near the tree trunk. The eagle’s nest is at the bottom center of the photo.

Arriving quickly was the father eagle. Father eagle chased the hawk away then proceeded to sit on a neighboring tree. After a while, the hawk returned and the father eagle chased him away again. Father eagle hung out for a while for good measure, then flew away.

Arrived to help protect the nest.
Father eagle chasing the hawk away from the nest.
Standing watch
Coast is clear so off to go fishing

I have seen videos online of eagles defending the nest. One shows an eagle killing and eating a hawk that attacked. Eagles and hawks it seems are natural enemies. Will an hawk eat a baby eagle? Will it just try to kill it? Do you know the answer?

Self- Isolating in the Wild Fox Hunting

I went to hunt eagles, not literally. I am an eagle fan or eagle paparazzi. I like trying to capture any animal that is not dangerous to try to capture with my camera. I went after working at home to try to catch the eagles. It was a gloomy, gray day with not an optimal amount of light. On my way into the park, I caught sight of a fox.

The eagle watching did not pan out. After a little while I decided to leave, when low and behold on the way out I saw the fox again at a distance near the outside edge of the park. He was very interested in this deer. He was also very interested in seeing what I was doing.

Do fox eat deer? It appeared he was. He took a bit that could have been his entrails and ran off into the woods. Did you know fox would eat a deer? I certainly did not. It appears they may go after a live fawn, but otherwise they would eat on a deer carcass.

Self Isolating in the Wild

It is the act of separating oneself from others. Self isolation is the new norm. Physically separating oneself is necessary in these times, however, remaining connected to others through social media, phone conversations etc. is important as well.

I would love to have been doing day trips to places farther away, but that is not prudent right now. The best thing to do is self isolate in nature. Parks are open and wildlife preserves are still open. It is a great way to maintain adequate distance and get some needed fresh air. Here are some animals I saw recently in nearby parks still open.

At a nearby park with a lot of open space. I think this one is a bluebird. They had a birdhouse on a pole near this tree. I suspect this one may live there.
This one appears to be an eagle with some white feathers coming in on its head. A sub adult? It was putting on an aerial show around a local nest that was not his/her nest. Could this be a juvenile from a previous spring checking up on the nest he came from?
This blue jay was an area I drop seed. If you feed them they will come. I don’t do that all year, but in winter and early spring.
Late afternoon-early evening lift off. It took a few days to catch the father eagle coming back to the nest. I usually only go down to watch for 30 minutes or so.

Everyone keep in contact with friends and family, follow what they ask you to do, stay safe and stay healthy. Keep a positive attitude. Clean or organize your house if you now find yourself with extra time. Put on positive music. I am in different What’s App groups with different people who meet regularly to stay positive and stay in touch. Watch a church service online. Think of others. We shall all get through this together.