A Hawk Tale

Top Photo: Unidentified large brown bird. You’re walking along the path. The low mid-morning sun is bright and shining directly into your face. A large bird flies by and catches your eye. It lands high up in a tree some fifty or so yards away. Branches restrict your view and the bird is facing away from you. When you first spotted the bird you thought it was a hawk. But which hawk? red-shouldered (the most common hawk in the area)?Read more

Hawk and Owl

Top Photo: Red-shouldered hawk and barred owl stand-off, as I arrived on the scene. Somewhere around 9:30 AM, I received a radio call from a very excited Ranger Gregory, “There’s lots of bird activity…hawk and owl fight…over by the Bird Viewing area.” I had my hands full so I couldn’t just drop-and-run. By the time I did make it to the bird feeders the action had moved a couple dozen yards down the trail. It seems, a barred owl wasRead more

A Familiar Face and a New Face

What is becoming an increasingly familiar face here at the Museum is that of the local barred owl. I’ve encountered this owl seven times since October, each time alerted to its presence through the harassing calls of crows, blue jays and various dickey birds. This time, the owl was in the swamp across from the Main Wetlands Overlook in Explore the Wild. The owl seemed to be resting, but apparently at least one eye and both ears were acutely tunedRead more

Barred Owl, Pickerel Frog, and American Crows

Once again, the local barred owl has made an appearance. I was standing in Catch the Wind watching a raccoon snooze away the afternoon (another story for another time) when, out of the corner of my eye I noticed a large brown bird fly down out of the trees and land on the edge of the service road near the entrance to Explore the Wild, some fifty yard’s distance. I was sure the bird had come down on some sort of prey. JustRead more

Barred Owl Days

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 rarelyRead more

Boardwalk Barred Owl

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 wasRead more

The Owl and the Mockingbird (and the Hawk)

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 inRead more

A Harrier, an Owl, and a Big Fish

Hooded Merganser numbers in the Wetlands have fluctuated between 4 and 11 birds. The males can sometimes be seen bobbing their heads, rearing up in the water and, with their bills pointed skyward, emitting a low-pitched snore-like staccato. They’re vying for the attention of the females. It often seems that all of the males are perusing one female, who, by the way, appears little impressed with all of their strutting and showing off. Cooper’s Hawks and, since the second weekRead more