was a sighting of a Barred Owl (11-12-22). I have other photos but wanted to share these first. We were walking back to our car and there was a young couple with two small children standing in front of where we had parked. They were looking up into the trees and pointing. It truly pays to ask, "What are you looking at?" They said, "An owl!" They saw a flurry of movement and knew something large had landed in the tree causing them to look upward and they spotted it almost immediately. This happened just before we arrived.
Tuesday, November 15, 2022
A SPECIAL GIFT TODAY...
And here it is, a Barred Owl (Strix varia). What makes this so special is that we haven't seen one in several years. The only sighting of one in its natural habitat, was in Florida several years ago. To finally see one in our own backyard, so to speak, was truly a gift (I always look out for them on all of our visits to the parks but have never been successful). I think what helped was that we decided to come later in the day, and the light was fading fast.
Barred Owls are actually year-round residents and relatively common in the Eastern United States. They also live in parts of Canada, the Pacific Northwest, and even a few pockets in Mexico. In the western United States, they are also seen in northwestern Montana and northern Idaho.
Barred owls were first verified in southwest Montana in 1909 and in northwest Montana in 1921 (although reports of the species may date back to the 1870s) but not in Idaho until 1968. Barred Owls don’t migrate, and they don’t even move around very much. Of 158 birds that were banded and then found later, none had moved farther than 6 miles away. Homebodies! Yay for homebodies! Yes, you could say I am a homebody at heart, and I feel a kinship to these birds, especially in this stage of my life.
At the Audubon website here, there is more information. As you scroll down that page, on the right you come to several buttons where you can listen to their vocalizations.
My son and daughter-in-law like to sit on their balcony in the evenings and have been hearing an interesting sound coming from the trees as it gets dark. I played the owl calls when he popped over this morning, and he thought it was very similar to what they had heard.
The oldest recorded Barred Owl was at least 26 years, 7 months old. It was banded in North Carolina in 1993 and caught due to injury in 2019. Young Barred Owls can climb trees by grasping the bark with their bill and talons, flapping their wings, and walking their way up the trunk.
Pleistocene fossils of Barred Owls, at least 11,000 years old, have been dug up in Florida, Tennessee, and Ontario. The Paleocene genera Berruornis and Ogygoptynx show that owls were already present as a distinct lineage some 60-57 million years ago Mya - the definition of 'mya' is 'million(s) years ago. An example, "Non-avian dinosaurs went extinct around 66 mya."), hence possibly also some 5 million years earlier, at the extinction of the non-avian dinosaurs. This makes them one of the oldest known groups of non-Galloanserae landbirds.
Click on all the links above and you will get a lot more information than what I have shared today. There is also a great page on owls at Wikipedia. You can click on this link to go there.
There are at least three parking lots at the park and we lucked out choosing this one. We thanked the young family as this sighting made our day. We probably would have missed it entirely if not for them. Our owl was in the top of the tree and hard to see with the naked eye, well camouflaged at that. Gregg asked the couple if they would like to take a closer look through our camera lens, which they were happy to do.
As for me, my inner child and I were waltzing in my head on cloud nine! Seeing this beautiful bird was a great way to end our trip to the park.
There will be more photos from our latest walk as soon as I can put a post together.
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What a memorable sighting! I have never seen one in the wild. They are so very camoflauged! I love the photo where he is looking right down at you, and his eyes appear red.ReplyDelete
Thank you Ginny :) That's my favorite photo too.Delete
That one is pretty! I like the light colored chest with the stripes. Linda in KansasReplyDelete
Hi Linda, thank you and I agree :)Delete
How wonderful. Seeing an owl in the wild would make my day (would probably make several days).ReplyDelete
Thank you Sue, it certainly did ours :)Delete
Thank you for the photo of the owl that you spotted. It's exciting as I know you and your husband love birds. Have a good day! Linda.ReplyDelete
You are very welcome and it certainly is exciting to see :) Thank you and you have a good day too :)Delete
Such a gorgeous portrait of the owl. Beautiful photos about her!ReplyDelete
Thank you Roentare, so glad you enjoyed her :)Delete
I too have not seen one out walking in years!! And the last time I DID see one, it had its head tucked in, sleeping. Lucky you!ReplyDelete
Thanks Anni, it was literally being in the right place at the right time :)Delete
So cute! It's truly something special.ReplyDelete
Very special Angie, thank you :)Delete
What a fantastic sighting. Your photos are wonderful.ReplyDelete
Thank you Ann, very much appreciated :)Delete
Congrats on your Owl sighting. They are always a treat to find. I love all the owls, great collection of photos. Take care, have a great day!ReplyDelete
Thanks Eileen, they certainly are and I feel the same way about owls. You take care and have a great day also :)Delete
Barred Owl is quite common in southern Ontario, but that doesn't mean they are easy to find. Once you do, however, they seem quite indifferent to your presence and tend to stay put. As a general rule it's good not to announce their location to others as sooner or later they get harassed and move on. The worst incident I can recall is of an over-zealous photographer sawing the branch off a tree to get an unimpeded shot.ReplyDelete
Thank you David :) that's very interesting information and important advice.Delete
Exactly what I said, thanks Sandi :_Delete
what a fun encounter with the family, I would LOVE to see the owl and to talk with the family and would have offered the camera for a better view. in the past I have done that a couple of times. a few times I showed the person the photo of their dog and asked if they wanted it emailed and they did.ReplyDelete
Thanks Sandra, the thought crossed my mind but the moment passed. I have done that in the past, not sure why I didn't react faster this time :)Delete
Oh! That is a special gift for sure. Love the photos. I'm still waiting to spot an owl in the wild. Hope you are having a good week.ReplyDelete
Hi Ellen, it certainly was and thank you, so glad you enjoyed my photos :) We are having a good week thank you and I hope you are too. You and your hubby have been very much in my thoughts.Delete
Aren't the great? We had some nest in our backyard two years in a row.ReplyDelete
How wonderful!!! And yes they are great :) Thanks Jenn :)Delete
Thank you Christine :)Delete
i have never seen a barred owl in the wild. they are so pretty, interesting and your images are lovely!!ReplyDelete
This is my second sighting in the wild, and the other was years ago. Thank you Debbie, glad you enjoyed :)Delete
Quite a beautiful one.ReplyDelete
Totally agree :) Thank you William.Delete
How absolutely wonderful, Denise!! I'm so happy you were able to enjoy such a sighting! I've only seen an owl once in my adult life. Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful owl! Your photos are outstanding---such clarity! Gorgeous!!ReplyDelete
Thank you Martha Ellen, much appreciated :) so happy you enjoyed.Delete
Wonderful sighting of this interesting bird. I appreciate your photos.D and all the research you didReplyDelete
That’s great Cloudia, thank you :)Delete
Beautiful to see.ReplyDelete
All the best Jan
Hi Jan, thank you and I wish you the same :)Delete
That owl is truly magnificent. Thanks for sharing these photos with us.ReplyDelete
You are very welcome Gigi and thank you :)Delete
Beautiful photos and how lucky you are to have seen it. Cheers DianeReplyDelete
We counted ourselves very lucky Diane, thank you and cheers to you also :)Delete
Hello Denise :=)ReplyDelete
What a delightful encounter. I have never seen a beautiful Barred Owl, but I'm pleased that you did. I would have been ecstatic had I seen it. Your images are truly amazing, and it also gifted you with several different poses. I appreciate all the interesting research you did, as I am fascinated by all owls, and enjoy knowing about them. Thank you!
Thank you so much and you are very welcome :) I'm very happy you enjoyed Breathtaking. I would rather have that amazing sighting as a gift than anything in the material sense. He posed beautifully didn't he? :)Delete
I did not know owls go back so far. No wonder they are wise. 😊ReplyDelete
It was a surprise to me too, and smiled at your last sentence. It would be nice to be that wise :)Delete
Thanks, Denise, not only for the photos of the Barred Owl but for all the information you provided. I have seen them in captivity, but have never been as fortunate to see them in a natural setting. What a stroke of great luck you had in meeting that family on your walk.ReplyDelete
You are very welcome Dorothy :) I am glad you enjoyed it. It was very much a case of luck. Blessing that dear family for also being int he right place at the right time.Delete