The barred owl in the photos below has been getting around. That’s assuming it’s the same owl. There’s no reason to think it’s not the same individual that I’ve seen three times since September 21, but I can’t prove that it is.
Occasionally, I’ll hear a barred owl call from the woods on the east side of campus during a quiet winter afternoon, or I’ll come across an owl pellet on one of our paths through the woods. I rarely see the actual birds, though I know they’re there.
On September 21, as mentioned above, I spotted a barred owl under the boardwalk leading into Explore the Wild. The owl appeared to be hunting from a crossmember of the rather tall structure. I’d been alerted to the owl’s presence a few hours before I actually saw the bird by blue jays and other birds screaming, squawking, and hissing at something in the woods, unseen by me at the time. It wasn’t until later that I spotted the owl.
Again alerted by birds, this time crows, as they mobbed an owl on the far side of the wetlands, I saw the owl a second time. It was October 11, and the owl was in a willow tree on the back side of the wetland.
Today (10/15), it was a Carolina wren, cardinals, titmice, and a jay that made me look up and off to the side of the path. Just twenty feet or so from the paved path on the back side of the outdoor loop here at the Museum, was a barred owl. It paid little attention, if any, to the raucity of the lesser birds, only opening one of its eyes on occasion.
The bird stayed on its perch the entire day. Many people had an opportunity to get a close look at a very common, but not often seen, local owl.
Where will this owl turn up next? It’s difficult to say. But, I’m going to heed the call of the wrens, jays, crows and others as I walk along the paths here at the Museum. I suggest you do the same.