May 14, 2014

Creature adventures in the back yard

The pair of owls are still in the neighborhood. I hear them regularly, though it has been a little while since I have had visual contact. It seems they have moved down the woods a little bit, to our neighbor's yard about two doors down.

I hope that is because they found a suitable nesting site there. The barred owl mating season runs from March through August. This pair got a late start due to the circumstances. But having been fortunate enough to observe courtship feeding and mutual preening, I have a good feeling about those two.

We hear them night and day calling to one another. I have tried to go out into the woods to get a read on their location, standing in mosquito and poison ivy infested areas for long periods, but I cannot pinpoint it beyond a general area. They hide well during the day, and all my sightings have been at dusk, when they move around and prepare to hunt.

The consensus is the owls have settled in a particular neighbor's yard (I'm not the only one following them closely), and they have promised to be on the lookout. We are all pulling for owlets. Of course, if they were to have an active nest site, we will want to keep our distance to avoid causing them stress.

I got a lot of shots of them when they were hanging out in our back yard. The one I believe to be the female is somewhat wary. She usually made sure to keep her distance. And I don't have a long enough lens for true wildlife photography:

The one I believe is the male, on the other hand, is not only comfortable with me, he seems downright curious. One evening, he let me get so close I was standing directly below him:

He could have pooped on me!

One night as I was observing the female, I got an incredible surprise:

It was such a special experience. That was the last time I actually saw them, but like I said, I have a good feeling about those two. 

It's so fun to be able to observe these gorgeous animals right in our own back yard!

Note: This morning, we awoke to the sound of an owl calling from behind our house. Went out and tried to make visual contact, but couldn't. The calls were definitely coming from the trees in our backyard, however. So perhaps s/he will be roosting with us for the day...

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