Tag Archives: Barred Owl

WHAT A HOOT! BARRED OWL TAKES SANTA’S ROUTE

owl-flew-down-chimney-1487519927GMG FOB Susan LaRosa shares this Barred Owl story from the Animal Rescue League of Boston –

An owl needed rescuing after flying down a chimney and getting stuck inside a Methuen home. The Animal Rescue League of Boston said the Barred Owl took Santa’s route into the home, then perched in the living room when it couldn’t find the way out again.

BARRED OWL TALONS

If I were a little creature, I wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of these bad boys.

barred-owl-talons-copyright-kim-smith-copyGot an Itch

Interestingly, owls have a ratcheting mechanism in their foot, which keeps the toes locked around the prey or branch so the muscles don’t have to remain contracted.

Eyes on Owls is a terrific website for identifying owls commonly, and not so commonly, seen in New England. The owls are listed in descending order of how frequent their occurrence, from the most widespread to the rarest migrant. In our region, the Great Horned Owl is the most common, and the Barred Owl is a close second. Mass Audubon also provides a list of owls that breed in Massachusetts here.

HELP FROM READER REGARDING BARRED OWL IN OAK TREE

Recently a reader wrote the following about her Barred Owl:

-There is one in my yard-Have heard him at dusk and my husband has seen him twice in the stand of oak trees near my front door around 6:30AM-Same place I have heard him-You are welcome to come try and get a picture-Patti

Please contact me Patti. Unfortunately your email address is coming up anonymous in the comment section. I can be reached at kimsmithdesigns@hotmail.com. I would really love to come and record audio of your Barred Owl. So very much appreciate your kind offer. Thank you!barred-owl-sleeping-copyright-kim-smith-copy

 

PARKER RIVER NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE PART ONE

Parker River National Wildlife Refuge Part One

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Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk listening for prey

I am in the midst of doing research for the Piping Plover film project and have found the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge to be a great resource. Recently I met a terrific warden there, Jean, and she gave me a copy of the historic brochure written in 1947 by Rachel Carson about the refuge. The brochure was reprinted and if you inquire, they may still have some copies in the back office. You can also download it at this link: Rachel Carson Parker River Wildlife Refuge brochure

The brochure provides an early history of the refuge and is a fascinating view of mid-century conservation. And, too, it is a tremendous example of Carson’s thoughtful and thought-provoking style of writing.

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Barred Owl hunting – The refuge provides over 300 species of migratory and resident birds with vital habitat.

Some interesting facts about the refuge —

Located along the northeastern coast of Massachusetts, the Parker River National Refuge includes lands that lie within the three towns of Rowley, Ipswich, and Newbury. We think of Plum Island as the heart of the refuge. The wildlife refuge also consists of a range of diverse habitats and geographic features; over 3,000 acres of salt marsh, freshwater marsh, shrub lands, a drumlin, cranberry bog, salt pannes, beach and sand dunes, and maritime forest. The land is not conserved to revert back to a wild state, but is intensely managed in order to preserve and maintain the diversity of wildlife habitats.parker-river-national-wildlife-refuge-wardens-headquarters-copyright-kim-smith

The original warden’s headquarters

Unlike our national parks, which preserves parklands and historic buildings, and are designed for people, a national wildlife refuge is established first and foremost for wildlife and their habitats, not for people. The preservation of wildlife is the number one priority of all our national wildlife refuges.plum-island-sunrise-copyright-kim-smith

sandy-point-parker-river-national-wildlife-refuge-copyright-kim-smithPlum Island is a barrier island and especially noteworthy for providing critical habitat for Piping Plovers.

The Parker River National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1942 to help species of waterfowl that migrate along the Atlantic Flyway. There were three sharp declines in waterfowl populations in the early half of the 20th century, notably the American Black Duck, and national wildlife refuges all along the Atlantic coast were created in response to the precipitously low numbers.

parker-river-wildlife-refuge-impoundment-copyright-kim-smithSalt Island Impoundment

As we can see with our local Niles Pond, Henry’s Pond, and Langsford Pond shorebirds, waterfowl, and myriad species of wildlife thrive where they have easy access to both fresh water and salt water. The three bodies of fresh water that you see in the refuge look like ponds but they are actually manmade impoundments, created by dams and are highly controlled by a series of dykes and pumps.parker-river-wildlife-refuge-impoundment-pump-copyright-kim-smith

Salt Island Impoundment Pump

Parker River provides pristine habitats for a wide variety of mammals, insects, fish, reptiles, and amphibians. Hunting birds such as owls, hawks, osprey, eagles, herons, and egrets find an abundance of food at the wildlife refuge. Whenever at Parker River I never not see a raptor!

Red-tailed Hawk Preening

red-tailed-hawk-copyright-kim-smithWhen the Hunter is Hunted

Transfixing Owl Eyes

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Because owls mostly hunt at night their eyes are very efficient at collecting and processing light. To protect their extraordinary eyes, owls are equipped with three eye lids; an upper and a lower lid, and a third lid that diagonally closes across the eye. This action cleans and protects the eye.

 

More about Parker River National Wildlife Refuge to come.

Barred Owl Eating A Snake At Ravenswood Pics from Terry Weber

Last Sunday I received a call from Ramona Latham at the Cape Ann Discovery Center (Ravenswood). She told me that a Barred Owl had set up a nest for her babies in one of the treetops. While I was snapping photos of the baby owls, the Mama* owl stopped by with lunch for her children. A nice plump snake! I have never seen an owl in real life, so this bit of luck was a special treat. Some quick facts about the barred owl:

·    Commonly referred to as a “Hoot Owl.” Listen to its call here: http://www.mbr-pwrc.usgs.gov/id/framlst/Song/h3680so.mp3
·    A Barred Owl’s wingspan can reach 44 inches.
·    They typically hunt at night or at dusk by sitting on a high perch, looking and listening for prey, which they catch with a short flight or drop to the ground.
·    Adult Barred Owls swallow their prey whole. Their stomach acids digest the soft parts, and then they regurgitate a pellet containing the bones and hair.
·    Barred Owls sometimes go fishing. They will wade knee-deep in water and catch fish with their feet.
·    Barred Owls generally live alone except when mating or raising young, and are known to find the same mate every year.

Thanks to Ramona for her phone call. If you want to visit the Discovery Center or Ravenswood, click here for more info:  http://www.thetrustees.org/places-to-visit/northeast-ma/ravenswood-park.html. Ramona runs a variety of fun and educational programs for children and adults throughout the year. Don’t miss out!

*This owl may have been the Papa owl too, no disrespect intended! J