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The Day of The Owl;

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I took these off the forum thread so I'd know where they are, if you don't read the What's In Your Yard thread that is where they were originally posted

Quote Originally Posted by Ard View Post
This one sat right where you see it for 1 hour and ten minutes before it left.

He or she had a squirrel pinned in one of the spruce trees but..... Eventually the squirrel approached and gave the owl hell for sitting there. I felt sure the fur would fly but Squirrel was allowed to run down through the woods and return home unharmed. While I was loading the picture the owl split.

Pretty sure that is the Northern Great Gray Owl but have not looked it up yet. Was chomping at the bit to post the pic

Quote Originally Posted by Ard View Post
After it flew off unseen I grabbed my camera stuck it in my pocket and went out on the deck. There I stood scanning the trees all around the property but no sign of the owl. Then I looked directly to my left and there it sat right beside the deck on a little cottonwood sapling!

Mice, it's waiting for a mouse or vole to show at the base of the retaining wall. The mice set up camp in the log wall and travel to the area below the bird feeders that are hanging from the deck. Years ago when I was the chairman of Lycoming Audubon I read plenty about owls, contrary to beliefs they rely almost entirely on mice and their relatives as their food source. This is not to say that they won't take a rabbit or squirrel but mice have been found to be the number one prey source. By the way, if you've never read Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat pick up a copy. You may be surprised to learn what the basic subsistence prey of wolves consists of as well......
Quote Originally Posted by Ard View Post
Well I have my old D-80 Nikon charged and ready, maybe it'll stop back tomorrow. I'm thinking it comes here at night when the mice and voles likely make their trips to the seed that litters the ground around each of the 3 feeders. That same owl showed up here last year about this same time of year. What I know about the timing would be that this species and almost all of our owls do their mating in December & January. This timing allows that the young are born right about mid March. The possibility that this is a male is high because the female would be sitting on the nest keeping the young warm.

Timing? By the time the young owls are at the fledgling stage it will be late April to mid May. The next step will be the parents teaching them how to and what to hunt. Early May will see many young mammals borne and beginning to explore their surroundings. This allows the young owls to learn the business of the hunt focused on young and thus inexperienced prey. If the young owl had to learn to hunt and feed itself against 2 year old or older animals who have gained awareness of threats the mortality of the owls would be elevated greatly. All part of the evolved balance between species.


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