A Barred Owl Comes Calling

July 25th, 2011 | by | Record a Comment
Published in Backyard Birds, Bird Watching, Birds, Nature Photography, Owls
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Guest post by Marcie Callewaert

Every summer a Barred Owl (Strix varia) visits our property. He makes himself known with his haunting calls each night and his bold presence perched on a branch or fence post during the day – watching for his next meal.

Barred Owl (Strix varia)

A common owl on Vancouver Island, the Barred Owl's (Strix varia) call is a "Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you all?"

This year, “Hooty” as we have dubbed him, brought a friend. Instead of one owl’s call each night, there are two conversing through the moonlit forest. I have not spotted either of them yet, but hope to in the coming weeks.

The first year Hooty visited our farm, we were surprised at how close he came to us. We were so amazed at how unafraid – yet healthy – he was. Hooty would sit in a tree just off our deck and survey the ground for snakes – when he spotted one he would swoop down and grip it in his talons before flying off to a nearby branch to eat his meal. It was odd how without any habituation to humans that we had seen, Hooty was quite comfortable with our presence. We believe he may have spent some time at a rehabilitation centre at some point which would explain his ease with human presence.

Barred Owl (Strix varia)

"Hooty" the Barred Owl (Strix varia) surveying the yard for snakes and other prey items.

A few days after that first amazing experience, we had a large group of family members over. We were all out in the yard – when Hooty flew up and landed on one of our fence posts! With his beady eyes he spotted a snake near the edge of the lawn. He came right up and caught it again! It certainly gave some people a fright to see such a magnificent and commanding bird sitting on the front lawn!

It’s quite exciting to see and photograph and owl at such a close distance and I look forward to his visits again this summer.  He has become an annual sign of summer’s approach as his arrival tends to align with the good weather.

It’s neat to have a pair of owls visit us this summer. Perhaps we will even get a batch of owlets! Look for updates over the summer as this duo makes themselves at home!

About the Contributor:

Marcie is a nature photographer located on southern Vancouver Island. She carries her camera with her nearly everywhere she goes, and because of this, she has many photos to share of wildlife encounters at home, at work and all the places in between. Marcie’s photography can be found online at MEC Photography or on Facebook.


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