But, the fact of the matter remains: I got me some owls (and that makes me smile)!
I've had some luck with Barred Owls (Strix varia) in the past on a squirrel carcass back in NC (see here). But I've never gotten pictures of the big guys, like the Great Horned (Bubo virginianus). I heard Great Horned Owls calling in the woods behind my house back in January. In May, I accidentally flushed one from an old oak tree at one of my research sites, and then watched a bunch of crows mob the poor Bubo until it high-tailed it out of the area.
My parents even had one sitting in a spruce tree along their back lot line one morning about three weeks ago. The neighbor came by with a camera that had alittle bit of "reach" to it, and she got some decent shots (considering it was through a window from inside of the house). Check out the talons on that last pic!
Photo by C. Weimar
Photo by C. Weimar
So....it seems Squirrel Nutkin's Nemesis is fairly common 'round here. Thus, I knew there was always the outside chance for a few camera trapped shots of Old Brown.
Recently, my camera trapping luck with owls improved, and I got some video captures of them as bycatch from one of my ongoing research projects. Note: I can't figure out if its possible to make these clips show up bigger as imbedded into the blog post....thus, they may be easier to see if you maximize their size in your web browser.
First, one of the big boys flies down to nail a bit of dinner at one of my camera sets back in mid-May. I can't tell if he's successful, or not.......
After that, no owls for quite some time. Then, in late June a smaller individual flies down to take a stab at an unfortunate critter. This one appears to actually get his meal. I had trouble with the ID on this one, so I sent it over to my colleague and bird ID extraordinare, Bill Mueller over at The Future of Birds. He said (although it's hard to be certain) his guess was a young Great Horned Owl.
Finally, a closer daytime clip of Old Brown from just last week (notice the Robin trying to take a whack at him towards the end).....