About 11 AM on Wednesday (1/5/11) Facilities Tech, Al Gustafson spotted a Northern Mockingbird harassing a Barred Owl in a small pine tree 30 feet or so from the east entrance to the Farm Yard.
Al radioed me, and I was able to get a dozen or more photos of the bird. And, many Museum visitors were able to get close looks at a bird that most folks would have passed by unseen. Thanks Al.
Barred Owls are quite common in our area, even within Durham’s city limits. They are the most often encountered owl. Locally, I see more Barred Owls than any other species of owl.
As it perched quietly in the tree, the owl appeared to be “sleepy,” but it was both watching and listening the whole time that I was there. It would ever so slowly turn its head at any sound or movement, or slightly open its squinting eyes. At one point something beyond my sight or hearing apparently startled the bird and it immediately flew off to another perch higher up in the trees.
It was a good day for seeing raptors. Later that day I saw both a Red-shouldered Hawk hunt from a perch in a tree in the swamp above the Lemur House, and a Cooper’s Hawk nearly snatch a songbird out of the air.
A good day in the “Wild!”