Monday, April 8, 2013

And now, we interrupt your scheduled programming...(for another owl!) (#242)

I know I promised another Hawaii post, but there are lots of exciting things on the local bird scene as the mercury slowly creeps up (and back down again, and back up, every few days it seems). Spring is in the air, and so is the song of bird courtship. The signs are all there...those birdies are getting ready to make babies!

Several weeks ago, I caught wind that there was a great-horned owl in the area. With no real specific leads, I went with a hunch and managed to find it with some sleuthing and keen observation. Nadia was in town so she was brought along on this adventure too. She was a great sport.
matching earmuffs and bird seed at the ready
The owl was snoozing and had its head tucked in and behind a bunch of branches. It didn't seem to be moving anytime soon, so we left to walk for a bit. On the way back, we passed by again, and it was being mobbed by 5 or 6 rowdy crows. The crows left as soon as we did, so hopefully it got a few minutes of peace. We left again, since we still couldn't get a very good look--only the bottom half.

After we dropped Nadia off at her destination, we decided we'd try another shot. This time Matt asked his principal if she wanted to join us, as he's apparently been recounting our birding adventures to his teaching colleagues to much awe and wonder (maybe I'm exaggerating a little...). I guess she must have been curious what it's like to go on a birding adventure. It seems everyone thinks "Big Year" (a la Owen Wilson/Jack Black/Steve Martin) when they find out we are birders---and it's something like that, to an extent I guess. She brought along her two kiddos, who learned what it's all about...the great outdoors, and sometimes, a ton of patience. It's nice to see kids out there learning about this stuff and being outside...I think I'm going to grow a little army of mini birders...yes?

This is the 5th species of owl we've seen this year alone (actually 6th...there was one in Hawaii but it was too far to tell what kind it was). When I started birding, I dreamed of seeing owls, but I could never spot them. They are so hard to see; in the day, they don't move much or make sounds, and those are the main ways we spot birds. There are really two ways to spot owls, I have determined:

  1. getting a tip from someone in the know.
  2. extreme luck. 

This leaves me with only a few owl species left to spot, in these parts anyway--a barn owl is my next target!

#242: Great-Horned Owl; Ottawa, Ontario. March 2013
oh, hey there. well aren't you handsome?
I'm getting older so it took me awhile to catch onto this YOLO thing. But I thought this is pretty cute. And true. 

Violet and Donovan stop to feed the chickadees.
via Etsy http://www.etsy.com/listing/66662663/upcycled-dictionary-page-upcycled-book
On they way home, we headed to Hilda. Found this cute little one along the road.
The redpolls were still there in huge numbers. It was the end of the day and I didn't feel like revisiting the differences between the subspecies so we just snapped a few pics and went our merry way.
When I went home for Easter, I was disappointed that dad told me I had missed the huge rafts of migrating ducks at the island (why doesn't he just call me and tell me??). I always seem to miss them by a week or two. We still saw lots of duckies on the way though, and my fave ones at that.
hooded mergies...one of my faves
Looks like somebody forgot to account for the wire when casting their line 
found another little buddy!
Too bad the focus was on the male when this happened.
lots of river friends today!
beautiful wood ducks...love these too!
Spring is definitely on its way...can't wait for the warblers to start showing up! Ok, next post will be Hawaii, Part II--that's a promise! Come back soon!

3 comments:

Mr Murphy said...

Love the YOLO pic... Did you make that or did you get that somewhere? Great birding Jenna! Its good that you are getting other people interested in it.

deepdowndawn said...

No, I found that one on Pinterest I think. I thought it was pretty adorable.

Anonymous said...

Think I know which owl this is. They have not nested at this location for the past 3 or so years. Before that, they nested there for several years. There are other nests in Ottawa.