Saturday, February 6, 2021

The Barred Owl... Minnesota


The video from 02-01-21...

On Monday, 02-01-21, I went back into the woods where I’ve seen 4 different owls… two Great Horned Owls and two Barred Owls.

This video is of the Barred Owl that I’ve photographed several times in the past. There’s another Barred Owl about a quarter mile away that isn’t so cooperative.

This Barred Owl was actively hunting when I found it on my way way back from my furthest point on my owl walk. The owl wasn’t in the tree when I walked by the first time.

When I found it in the tree it was only about 10 yards away. I got my camera out of my backpack and attached my 500 mm lens and took some handheld shots before setting up my tripod.

Once I got my tripod set-up I began taking some video, then I walked away from the camera to see if there were any others good angles to get some photos. I watched the owl as it was intently listening to a vole or other rodent on the ground under the snow. It started to fly to the ground, but aborted its mission. It flew back into another tree a couple more yards closer to me. Now I was only about 8 yards away.

So now I couldn’t get the complete owl in the frame because he was so close. The owl snapped its head to its right and appeared it was listening to something in the distance. Then it flew 30 to 40 yards away and landed in the snow and I’m sure searching for his meal in the snow with its feet. The owl flew back up, but this time it didn’t appear it was successful.  It flew to another tree only a few feet off the ground, but now it was downhill of me.

I walked over with my camera on the tripod, but now I was shooting down hill from the side of a steep snow covered bank. I lower my tripod to about 3 1/2 feet to get the best angle without too many branches obstructing the view of the owl. I had to kneel in the snow to view the back of the camera. There was no way I could stay like that for very long before I had to stand back up. Now I had to keep bending over to view the back of the camera.

I took several video clips of the owl because it was still actively hunting hoping it would fly and get a vole.

Because I’ve spent so much time around this owl and the female Great Horned Owl I’m always  fascinated watching their behaviors. One such behavior is when they become very alert to possible dangers from above they will pull their feathers close to their body while elongating their body to make them less visible. This time it was with a crow flying overhead and it wasn’t making any sounds I could hear. The last time I saw this behavior with this owl wasn’t too long ago when it was relaxed, but it heard an eagle fly overhead behind it. The owl elongate its body and actually stepped around on the branch 180 degrees and followed the eagle until it passed. I’ve also witness this with the female Great Horned Owl.

I spent about an hour and a half watching the owl from  the side of the bank before I decided to finally pack it up because it looked like the owl wasn’t going to move around anymore. Recently, I spent over three hours with it and it was content to keep me company until it was completely dark outside.

When I walked back to my backpack to put my camera gear away I saw a vole or some small rodent running across the top of the snow where the Barred Owl was initially looking for a meal. I almost felt like yelling to the owl, “Over here!”

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