Thursday, January 22, 2009

Barred Owl on the Hunt

Posted by Kirk
A nice surprise today, bird number 23 for the year appeared like a striped ghost in the woods. After hearing them a couple of times, I finally saw a Barred Owl in 2009. I guess it isn't fair to say finally when we're only 22 days into the year. I walked past the windows at work and saw something large fly through the woods. I figured it was an owl right away. It took a while to locate where it had gone. The camouflage was incredible.

I finally saw him dive toward the ground out of a tree, undoubtedly going for a little mouse under the snow. He was about 150-200 feet away. I happened to have a camera with me so I snapped some photos. At that distance, shooting through the trees the auto-focus had trouble. I wish I had my camera with me which has manual focus.

I also shot some video to give you an idea for how far away he was and how hard he was to see and find. It starts out close with the owl in the middle and then zooms out.

I went out to see if I could find where he had landed on the ground, I was hoping to find the classic wing prints on the snow. I did find where he landed but he must have landed without his wings touching the ground much. I think what you see here are tail marks on the right hand side, feet made the big hole in the middle and then the extension of the hole on the left could have been from his head as he poked around for the mouse. Other interpretations are entirely possible. It isn't very clear.

2009 Running Bird Tally
23. Barred Owl