Feeding Time

I placed another tick in a box last night. I was beginning to think I would never see an owl feed their babies. They seemed to shy away from doing that within eyesight of me. Then, last night I saw and heard them in all one areas again.

Mother perhaps with prey.

The one parent flew to the same tree as the children. I could not tell if it had someone, but someone I was with said they saw it was holding a chipmunk. If you look carefully under the branch you see dangling legs.

Parent with two of the three owlets visible.

The parent flew to another tree and the owlets followed.

Tearing up the chipmunk.

The parent then proceeded to tear out pieces of the chipmunk and feed them to the owlets.

Two were very interested and were nearby. The third was higher up.

They don’t always do this within view. Sometimes it is high up in the tree tops with leaves blocking the view. I was so happy to see this tonight. Owls are predators. It is what they do to survive.

Singing Owlets

Surprise! There are three owlets. After only hearing them for about a week, but not seeing them, I found them today. They were all together on the same branch with good views from a couple of different places nearby.

They appear to be singing.

A parent was in a neighbouring tree. They were probably begging for food. I was hoping to see a parent feed them and I knew at least one of them was hunting nearby. But once again a thunderstorm was approaching .

I am happy I at least got to see the three of them together and I hope I am lucky enough in the future to see a parent feed them. Enjoy your week!

Owlet at Sunset

Is this owlet waiting in anticipation of a meal? Is it contemplating joining its sibling by leaving the hole he knows so well?

Owlet in tree hole before it left the nest.

I only had a short window this year to catch the owlets at the tree hole. One left the nest the next day and the other I believe a day after that. I could only get there with about one hour or so before sunset so I took advantage of what I had. Enjoy short breaks from having your nose to the grindstone.

Two Owlets

What is twice as nice as spotting an owlet in a tree hole? Finding out there are two owlets.

Second baby is in the hole.

The day after I spotted one in the hole, there was one high up in the same tree, and another one in the hole, so definitely two.

Baby owl power napping.

This is the one who was high up in the same tree with their nest hole. I suspect he climbed the tree, however I did see him flying branch to branch the next day.

Mother or Dad? I tried to make this one look like an old photo. The light was not great that day.

The mother owl usually flies down to a lower branch for a couple of minutes before flying back to a higher branch. I do not hear the “Who cooks for you?” sound people say barred owls usually make. She or he usually make half a who around the babies. I guess it is owl baby talk.

These two seemed to have left the nest quickly. I passed that tree two times every time I went there and prior to my last post I did not see an owlet peeking out. Would have wished for more days to see them at the tree hole, but I will take what I can get. Go slow and be aware when walking in the woods, you never know what you can miss.

Owl Hunting

If I close my eyes and pretend to sleep it will lure the other critters into a false sense of security.
I see someone climbing a neighbouring tree.
OMG!!!!!! Owl!!!!!!!
I’ve got to get a closer look at this human. Did you get good shots?
Learn from the master.

Barred Owl on Low Branch

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 gives me the one eye from time to time. He never flew off while I was there.

He occasionally turned around in different directions to spy chipmunks, squirrels , etc. that were moving around nearby.

Before sunset light in the woods is tricky. You either get an owl that is too much in the shadows or one where parts of it and the background are too light. Someday I will learn photoshop so I can do photo stacking.

Get out and enjoy nature. It may take you by surprise.

Straggler

This straggler missed his flight. It appears he will be the last to leave the party. He lingered at his winter abode. There were four snowy owls on the beach. On the day these pictures were taken and the previous day, he was the only owl sighted. Have his three other beach mates started their journey back to the far north Canadian Arctic?

When I arrived he flew along the shore ahead of me and landed on this tree branch. He was there when I left.

I asked him where his friends were. I told him it might be time to head north soon. I hope his internal clock works well. A fellow female photo buff told me she went later and could not find him. Did he listen to me? I doubt it. They do fly between neighbouring beach areas.

Lots of different birds in the midst of migration to catch this owl’s attention.

All these photos are taken with a long lens and cropped significantly.

About a minute. That’s all I had with this light. Before and afterwards it was dark and cloudy. It was the best minute of my day. Appreciate even small time blocks of sunshine. Stay safe and stay healthy.

Eastern Screech Owl

What do on your week off when you have a bad cold and don’t want to spread your germs? For me I spent the last two days of my vacation driving up and down rural roads looking at tree holes for owls.

Screech owl eyes slightly opened

One one rural road I kept hearing a call of a saw whet owl. I felt like it was teasing me. I have heard they usually hang out at our eye level, but I had no luck and was not going to walk on private property to search further. I did know the direction it was coming from.

He was enjoying the sunlight. I would think the cold wind would have bothered him though.
The photos before this one he was in the top hole. Then he went inside the tree for a few minutes and then appeared at the bottom hole. This owl has a townhouse with two decks!

On another rural road that I drove up and down searching the holes I found one occupied by a screech. Screech owls are very small. Notice they block almost the entire tree hole and blend in with the tree so they are hard to spot.

It was a very windy day and the clouds came in so the lighting conditions also were not optimal. It was hard to keep my camera steady and this was near the top of a high area. I hope to return to this spot in the future hoping the wind level is less.

When you can,

go slow and stop along the way. You never know what you will find on rural roads.

Snowy Owl on Beach

I went to this location after it stopped raining for a short trip. I was lucky. I saw this owl flying over a wetlands being chased by seagulls on my way in. I parked in the parking lot and only walked a very short distance and the same owl it appears flew over my head being chased by gulls. It landed on the beach. There were kite surfers there and it appeared to frighten the owl a few times into short flights. The gulls kept watch on it throughout my time there, flying close to it.

Looking at either a seagull or one of the kite surfers whose kites were behind me.
At the end of a jetty

The conditions were very windy. It made it hard to stay still. It was hard to get sharp in focus images. All of these were taken with a 150-600 mm zoom and are heavily cropped. Get out and enjoy nature! There is so much around you if you stop to notice.

Snowy Owl Return

Many birds leave the northeastern part of the United States and Canada this time of year and head to warmer locals where finding food is easier. Loons migrate to the Long Island Sound and points south. Most Great Blue Herons and Ospreys have headed south. Can you name a bird that treats New York and New England as their Florida in the winter? One bird is the snowy owl.

This snowy owl is sitting on some kind of plastic debris. It was huge.
Behaviour Around Snowy Owls

Some snowy owls from the Arctic in Canada arrived early this year. Some were seen as early as October. If you hear of them on one beach hanging out multiple days and you don’t see them head to a neighbouring beach. Don’t bring a dog. I have seen them fly off at the sight of one. Keep your voice down. Unfortunately I witnessed a man last year yelling near an owl twice and he caused it to fly off both times. Don’t go too close. Move slowly within eyesight of it and don’t make sudden moves.

Although I was able to catch this one with its eyes open several times. Its eyes were closed a lot.
Snowy Owl Habits

These birds spend most of their time sleeping during the day. They tend to fly and start hunting right before sunset. Usually they are here from around December through March.

Stretching the legs.
Always keep at least one eye open!
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This owl was perched on a huge plastic container of some sort. I don’t know if it is something boats use or if it is industrial debris. Kind of sad, but it is one more sign of how prevalent plastic debris is.

I enjoy seeing the many faces of the snowy owl. Get out and enjoy nature. Follow the rule of trips in wild areas: carry in, carry out.

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