It was a dark, overcast day.
An hour or two before, I had heard the piercing calls of two or three blue jays hassling something near the first bend in the boardwalk as it descends into Explore the Wild. I was walking on the path above the boardwalk and gave a quick look in the raucous jays’ direction. Jays and other birds are known to mob perched hawks and owls. However, I didn’t see anything and moved on.
An hour or two later, I was walking up the boardwalk. As I walked, I saw a large out-of-place object on one of the cross beams of the tall wooden structure. It was an owl, a barred owl. The owl’s full attention was on the ground below, hunting.
I stopped to watch the bird. The owl looked up as people walked above it on the boardwalk, but seemed little concerned. Not having my camera with me I whipped out my iPhone and clicked off a few shots from where I stood.
Since the bird didn’t seem overly troubled by the people who were walking just feet above its head, I thought I might get a shot of the bird from above. I quietly walked over to where I thought the bird was perched. Slowly, I leaned over the rail with the iPhone, click, click, click.
Barred owls are not uncommon here on the Museum’s acreage, but one doesn’t often see them during daylight hours. The dark, damp and relatively quiet day had brought it out into view.