Sunday, December 28, 2008

Owl prowl



I guess the owl Christmas card was an omen. Friday night, we were on an evening wildlife safari on the dirt roads in the woods on my parents' farm. My niece spotted this screech owl in a chinaberry tree. We were in a very loud pickup truck about 5 feet from the branch it was sitting on. We watched it through the driver's side window for about five minutes, then decided to drive back to the house and get our cameras.

When we returned, the owl was sitting in exactly the same spot. Even with the noise and with my niece and I snapping flash photos, it didn't budge. My brother even talked to it. After a few minutes of posing for its closeup, the owl flew to a branch about 5-6 feet higher in the tree. My brother thought the bird might be sick. Dad's guess was that it was young and inexperienced with nosy people in pickup trucks.

This photo is one that my niece took. Mine were terrible.

5 comments:

Chad and Brandy said...

Beautiful bird. I have only seen one in the wild. Glad you went back for the camera, I never seem to have one with me when I need it.

sweet bay said...

I've seen exactly one screech owl -- at Lake Mattamaskeet. It was a red phase, which I've read are more common in the mountains than the Coastal Plain, but there he or she was, red. It happened to look out of a wood duck house just as I had walked up to it. Our faces were about 2 feet apart. Needless to say the owl ducked back in and refused to pose for a picture.

I seem to hang out in Barred Owl territory -- I've seen a lot of those.

I agree, who doesn't love an owl.

Carla said...

I don't know what the heck is going on ... but today I saw a huge owl fly in front of me on a trail on Mount Jefferson. Then onto a low branch in view. It had a 4foot wingspan easily so I immediately thought great horned. But from the front it was buff-ish and I saw no ear tufts. Tried to zoom in with my cam for a good look and made the mistake of taking a few steps forward. It flew down to the forest floor and I lost it.

Could I have seen a barred roosting at 4000+ feet? We're talkin no evergreen cover either. Thoughts?

I'm such a bad birder!

Oh ... Blogging via iPhone blows!

sweet bay said...

I'm using Birds of the Carolinas as a reference -- Barred Owls are "common permanent residents of swamps, river bottoms, and moist woodlands throughout the Carolinas." Usually this book gives a report as to how high up birds have been seen in the mountains, but it does say, "throughout the Carolinas".... a Barred Owl sounds like the best match.

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