Monday, February 20, 2012

barn owl ~ 02/20/12 ~ Pinnacles


I hope I never loose my enthusiasm about nature and the incredible diversity of life. I can't even begin to describe how excited Andy and I were when I spotted this owl on our drive into Pinnacles. As I've mentioned before, he hates backing up, whether running or driving, but when I shouted "Oh my god! There's an owl in the willows!" he immediately turned around, which is a bit difficult on a narrow one-lane road. He quickly dropped me off with the point-and-shoot as he went to look for a place to park. When another car came through, it flushed the owl out, and Andy had the better vantage point to see it fly. So cool!

Truth be told, I had no idea which kind of owl this was until I looked at my pictures and looked through my books. Yeh, yeh, it's a common barn owl, a very distinctive owl at that. You'd think I would have known, but I didn't. Apparently barn owls are listed as endangered in some states, like Connecticut and Wisconsin. For some reason, I thought barn owls were much darker, but I think I was mistaking them for great horned or spotted owls. As an aside, I love the notes my friend made in the books she's letting me borrow. She describes the spotted owl sounds as "like strangling a chicken with laryngitis." Too funny.

Woohoo, my first owl post on Nature ID!

10 comments:

Cindy said...

Nice sighting! What time of day was it? I believe the owls are sitting on eggs or feeding hatchings now, they start way early. May've influenced this bird's behavior. I describe the barn owl's call as sounding like a drooling alien about to gut you. You can go to Cornell Bird lab to hear it.

Imperfect and tense said...

A Barn Owl day is always a good day! Great find, great bird :o)

Joe said...

Great catch. I love listening to the owls calling to each other at dusk and dawn.

Jennifer said...

I am soooooooooo jealous!!! I love owls and have wanted to see one forever. Great shots. Lucky you!!!

Katie (Nature ID) said...

Cindy, this was right before 11:00am. Isn't that an odd time to see this owl? I love your description of the barn owl's call. I found the 3rd link "more information" in my ID above has better sound recordings than Cornell's site, which is linked in the scientific name above.

Graeme, it did make my day! Although the winter beauty of Pinnacles was incredible (habitat post forthcoming).

Joe, I imagine you live in a really great place to hear all kinds of birds.

Thanks, Jennifer.

sniehans said...

Neeeat! I had no idea they were out here. What a cool find!

Arro said...

Oh! Owls!! Yes!! I'm so thrilled you got to see a barn owl at that, the barn owl and the burrowing owl are my favorites. We have what I think is a barn owl that flies above the house out here (we live in the countryside) and when I'm on my trampoline at night it sometimes drifts down and stares at me as it is gliding on by. It must have been great to watch it fly in the daylight!

Jennifer and Steve said...

What a super great find! I've only seen barn owls a few times and they always get me excited. Last night we watched woodcock displaying on our land! SOOOOOOOOO awesome!

Katie (Nature ID) said...

Thanks, Shaina. Maybe you'll see one, too.

Arro, every time I go hiking at Fort Ord, I keep my eyes out for burrowing owls. I would love to find one. What's this about jumping on a trampoline at night? Too funny.

Jennifer, I'm going to look up a woodcock right now! Very cool.

Arro said...

I've finally figured out how to reply on blogger... Sorry, still getting used to the site. And yes, I jump on my trampoline whenever possible, I've been through seven thus far, now on my eighth. Rain, hail, summer heat and cold winter night. Nothing seems to deter me all too much.