A fanatical birder blogging about Screech owls in owl box, backyard birding and wildlife in the Northeast USA.
No Idea...but I had 2 at my feeders this winter that were marked similar to that and I'd like to know.www.wildlifearoundus.blogspot.com
BINGO - Nice job Lynne and Patrick! Carol I was a little perplexed at first too until I got a better look at this little guy.Thanks for popping in!
Owlman- Hope youre doing well. I created a web site to incorporate all my Screech videos from the hatching to the fledging, and photos of the screech family. check it out if you have time, or feel free to post the web site address. regards! Dan Dailey (Hawthorne, nj)from the browser>www.dansearthpage.com
Regarding mystery birds, I'm not sure if it is appropriate to ask questions here, but I don't know where else to find the info quickly. Is it OK to shine a flashlight up into the trees where the owls are? Will doing so cause them to abandon their young? I am still having trouble seeing our noisy, (I'm talking for hours) night bird. Last night I finally found the tree they are in and it is a very tall, old evergreen in my friend's yard. Thankfully I can go anytime to investigate. Last night I followed it's calling around my neighborhood; It would get close, then far away. (I assume it is hunting in the field adjacent to my house.) I could not see it. Then suddenly it "AAAACKed" and burst from a treetop 20 feet away, then flew over us, to get to its home tree. We were startled and might have yelled some and then I quickly put my flashlight up into the tree. At the same time there was commotion and the birds AAAcked to each other very briefly and then the one that flew in flew right out again! I never got a good look. My flashlight stinks, but more importantly, I didn't know if I'd scared it with the light, or if our short burst of surprise frightened the owl, or if it was normal for it to fly in and out so quickly. I got worried it wouldn't come back if it is feeding a fledgling. Thankfully, tonight I heard the calling and went to the tree, again. Saw nothing, but heard it loud and clear up there. I still couldn't see it with my broken mag light. One was out in the field and it's location kept changing like last night. At least now I know it's sticking to its routine, which makes me feel better. Then it got quiet. I finally came in, and it is making noise again, continually. I really want to see this bird, but I'll leave it alone if it is not wise to stalk it and shine my light. Oh! and it is making its calls sometimes every 15 seconds, not minutes apart as some websites say Barn Owls do. So far, from my limited on line search, the Barn and the Snowy are the only owls that make the AAAACK sound, in the Northeast. Also, I'm wondering, could it be a heron?
Chilibean,Let's start with the call first. It could well be a Heron as they are known to feed at night especially something like a Black crowned night heron. The call is an AACK and sounds very different to the eerie call of a Barn owl. Here's the Black crowned's call http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Black-crowned_Night-Heron/soundsIt would be really tough to describe the Barn owl's call. The initial part of the call sounds like some weird snake on steroids and the last part just sounds very creepy http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Barn_Owl/soundsIf it is a Heron there should be suitable habitat close by for it to hunt e.g. pond, swamp, river. You describe a field close by which is more likely to be a Barn owl hunting ground than a heron. As far as the disturbance factor goes this is a gray area and you will probably get a different answer depending on who you ask. On the one end of the scale you get folks who believe that if you look at an owl it will be scared away never to be seen again and on the other side of the scale you have people who feel its ok to feed owls. I’m pretty much on the middle of that scale. I think its ok for you to want to find out what the birds is. I would recommend that you get a decent flashlight or fix the one you have and find out the identity of the bird. If it is an owl than I would recommend keeping a low profile to ensure that they stick around. Barn owls are known to breed throughout the year so they don’t have a strict nesting season as such, so there’s no way to tell where they are in their nesting cycle. From my experience owls pretty much ignore human activity as other birds do. Having said that, you don’t want to be in their face 24x7. Your comments and concern show that you have the safety of the owls in mind already so I know you’ll do the right thing. My vote is for you to satisfy your admirable curiosity for nature and to ID the birds. It will literally take a few seconds with a good light. Don’t shine the light in their eyes if you can help it as it will blind them for a few seconds. Hope this helps. Let me know what you find please.Thanks for stopping in!
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