Sunday, November 21, 2010

Beset by Owls!

We've been noticing for the past week or so that there is a spot on our driveway that has been slowly accumulating layers of bird crap. The area is only the size of a manhole cover, so it seemed odd that birds were dumping so much in exactly the same spot. Then a day or two ago, Jim noticed some big chunks of fuzz amid the bird crap. He figured a bird must be roosting in the tree above on that spot, and then he saw owl! That explains the fuzzballs, since owls vomit up the fur and bones of their meals.

When I came home from Chicago, Jim pointed out the owl to me but I couldn't see it. It took me a few seconds because it is so well camouflaged amid the dead leaves and tree bark. This morning, while putting the christmas lights up, I went over to check out our owl and saw a drop of bird crap in a different spot under the tree. I looked up and saw a second owl! And yes, the first one was still in his perch so it truly is a second owl. Plus they look very different. Owl number two has lighter coloring and is much fatter.

I have never seen a real owl before! They're perched about fifteen feet off the ground, and they don't seem at all disturbed by us.  Of course, we're not wanting to disturb them as they are likely eating a lot of mice and other undesirables infesting the area. While the bird crap and fuzzy pellet vomit are kind of unsightly, I hope they stay with us a long time! Here's some pics of our new housemates. Click on the pics to make them bigger.

Same day update: An old friend I've been able to reconnect with on Facebook (hi, Emily!) asked what kind of owls they were. I had to confess I was so excited to see them that I hadn't even bothered to learn this. After a search on the web, I believe they are eastern screech owls.

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