Baby Barred Owl’s First Winter

15047665304_0a48248db9_z

Curious little Barred Owl, Late October, 2014

I first came across this young Barred Owl at the end of October deep in the woods at Presqu’ile Park.

IMG_6840

Young Barred Owl on its own, November 2014

Even after young Barred Owls leave their nest, their parents continue to feed them for many weeks.    The challenge comes late in the fall, when the young owls are left on their own to hunt, and to find a new territory for themselves.

Over the last few months I have seen the little owl a couple of times sitting on its own in a tree at the edge of the forest.   Though I often came across the adult owls in the park, I rarely saw the little one, so I always wondered how it was doing.

IMG_9658

Today.  Hunting.   Look at that concentration!

Well, today I found out the young owl is doing just fine surviving its first winter.   I spotted it hunting in a field full of small trees and wet swampy ground, perfect for finding voles, its main prey.

IMG_9689

Gotcha! Caught a vole for breakfast.

The young owl’s hunting skills are incredible.   It focussed intently on a spot in front of it on the ground, then silently flew down and grabbed a vole through the snow with its talons.   Sticks and weeds precluded photos, but I got to watch it!  I was down and sitting  on the ground to take these photos.  I guess it doesn’t matter that I went to my doctor’s appointment with wet jeans.

IMG_9702

Taking off to another perch

After fiddling a bit with the vole, the owl flew to another perch, the vole hanging out of its mouth.

IMG_9707

Down the hatch!

It then proceeded to swallow it whole.   That’s how owls eat their prey- whole.   My friend has seen them eat snakes whole.   That would be quite the sight!

IMG_9747

Well fed indeed.

There is no doubt that my little friend is doing very well its first winter on its own.   What a great day it was today!

8 Comments:

  1. Looks healthy as can be, what a treat for you to watch this amazing sight!

  2. So very vicious and so very adorable!! I am so happy to hear the baby is doing well so far this winter. You’ll have to keep us updated on its adventures 🙂

  3. You bet.

  4. I love this! To get to be able to watch the hunt and then eat is wonderful.

  5. Those who look – will see. Particular when it comes to owls who normally are out of sight, even if they happen to be nearby in the evening.
    I remember sometimes when sleeping over at my grandmother’s this one owl outside her window hooting.
    She also once had an owl accidentally flying through her open window and crash into her living room in the middle of the night 😛 Haha.

    This baby barred owl is so cute! With it’s fluffy feathers ^ ^

    • Jules, I cannot imagine having an owl fly through the window! Wow I would be in heaven! I do agree that those who look will find. A couple of days ago my friend and her husband decided to go down to the park where I always see the Barred Owls and they saw a beautiful owl that afternoon, just because they were looking. They were thrilled.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *