Friday Nature Spot ~ Our Little Winter Wren
*A recipe for REALLY yummy cookies*

Guess whooo paid us a visit last night?

Barredowl1

!!!!!!!

He's a Barred Owl (we're pretty sure), and my mum spotted him in a tree on our street around sunset last evening. Isn't he gorgeous?! 

And isn't this sighting just completely serendipitous?

Because, as I've mentioned, we are focusing on owls right now for our current winter nature study. Last week we attended an owl pellet program, and this week I have all sorts of owl-related activities planned for my boys. In fact, that was - and is - going to be my next post. 

I have also mentioned that though we are certain we have owls living in the woods out back (having heard them on several occasions) we have never seen one - and we have no idea what type of owl lives out there ... until now. :)

He was HUGE (which makes me wonder if he was actually a female). He was awake. And he was seemingly entirely unconcerned with the flurry of activity going on below his perch high up in our neighbor's tree. He made not a sound, though the male cardinal just to his left (not seen in the picture) was making quite a racket - sounding the alarm, I would guess. He did peer down at us occasionally, and he even once swiveled his head almost 360 degrees! 

According to the site I linked at the top of this post, 

"Barred Owls call year-round but courtship activities begin in February with breeding occurring between March and August."

So I guess this guy was out looking for a date! ;)

Bill took the picture at the top - his came out best of all those we took. I took the ones below, but I think in my all my excitement I just wasn't at my best photography-wise. 

Barredowl2

Barredowl3

I can't wait for the next mild day when we can trek out into the woods to see if we can locate his nesting cavity. (I think I know just the tree to check, too.) We could check the ground around the base of the tree for feathers of even (gulp) regurgitated owl pellets ...

Speaking of which, the only downside to this sighting is that now I am in fear for the lives of my precious red squirrels! That would be one circle-of-life lesson I would not want to explain to - or experience with - my boys. Well, maybe these owls will ignore our little red tails and just stick to the moles, voles and mice.

Anyhooooo ...

I hope you all have a lovely Sunday. Thanks for stopping by today and sharing in our delightful discovery! I'll see you all again sometime soon. :)

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