3/20/2009

Watch nesting owls in real time

I'm currently watching two incredible streaming owl cams. The first one is a Great Horned owl that is nesting in a planter at Brevard County Commission. This morning I managed to see the chick popping up behind mom and it was busy preening away like there won't be another tomorrow. You can check out the owlcam at the top of my blog or go to their website. Please note that the owlcam is only available during the day. Thanks to Birdchick for posting the info!


The second owlcam is a Tawny owl brought to us by the Estonian ornithological society. To open the webcam directly in Windows media player click here or to read about the project and then view the streaming player in your web browser click here. Thanks to Aluajala for sharing this site with me!

3/19/2009

The extreme sparrow challenge

I'm a pretty big sucker for reality TV action packed with challenges and I decided to bring this addiction to my blog with the extreme sparrow challenge (insert dramatic music here). What makes the challenge extreme is that you are getting VERY bad looks at these sparrows.

Below are 5 different sparrow species and you have only 5 minutes to examine them and place your vote in the comments box below. You can click on them to enlarge the image. If you take more than 5 minutes your screen will go black...well not really but let’s pretend! Good luck, and may the force be with you. I'll be running the challenge for a month, so the closing date will April 19th! Because I know the answers, I never know whether this is really tough or really easy. I guess once I tally the numbers at the end I'll know.
1.
Note: Both sparrows (flight and sitting) are the same species
2.
3.
Note: Sparrow is sitting - not in flight.
4.
5.

Click on the comments link below to add your answers for 1 - 5.

3/17/2009

Happy Paddy's Day!

Owl baiting poll results

Thanks so much to everyone who participated in the owl baiting poll and the lively discussion that followed. 77 people voted with the majority 56 (72%) voting against owl baiting, while the remaining people 21 (28%) voted that owl baiting was acceptable. Although different points of view were presented the discussion stayed respectful and no mud was slung – something that is very seldom the case. Many people mentioned that discussing owls is like talking about religion. People generally have very strong views and they aren’t easily persuaded of alternative ways of looking at the world. I thought that was the case for me, but discussions like this and other owl related topics have opened my mind to new perspectives.

Personally I wouldn’t bait an owl for a photo, but I think that under certain circumstances I would be tempted to feed an owl. One of the readers mentioned that there is a distinction between these two activities and I would agree that there is a slight difference. Although I would have an internal conflict I may feed an owl that is battling to catch food. As Susan Williams mentioned, most owls in this predicament have other issues going on so I admit that feeding it wouldn’t be the ‘right thing’, I’m just admitting that I would be tempted to do it. I would only feed the owl if it was living on my property and we were far away from roads and other people. Reality check - this situation is not going to arise any time soon for me so I probably will never know what I would do. What I have realized during this debate is if you really open your mind there are grays areas, even in the ‘religious debate’ of owl baiting.
Thanks again for all of you hoo stopped in and voted and/or commented!
Incredible photos shared by the Flickr community group - Owls of North America. Click on the play button to begin the slideshow - ENJOY!