Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Barred Owl visits for Sunday brunch and has the early bird special.

On Sunday we had drama at the bird feeder. It had already been "found" by a beautiful, rose-breasted grosbeak and, we later discovered, his less-colourful mate. We then added a suet-holder, filled with peanut butter-flavoured suet, which I had read on a bird photographer's blog page was attractive to a number of birds, including Baltimore Orioles. By Sunday, then, we were host to a pair of Baltimore orioles and what could have been a pair or a family of catbirds all feeding avidly on the suet holder. I was taking a few pictures through the side window which looks onto the feeder pole and was more than a little shocked to see a huge barred owl less than 20 feet from the house and only about 12 feet from the feeders. He or she was magnificent and just sat, very still, watching the small birds feed and presumably deciding which one was going to become an early lunch.
I did not manage to photograph the owl seizing his or her prey but I think that the victim was one of the catbirds - probably a young one - caught unawares and carried off onto another branch to be quickly devoured. All the while that this was going on the other birds carried on as though nothing had happened and I took these shots of Mrs and Mr Grosbeak, Mr Oriole and a surviving catbird.
The owl flew onto another branch, a little further away from the feeder and sat there for about a quarter of an hour before flying up into the trees, perhaps to make another kill or maybe just to head for home.