Florida is for the Birds

June 22, 2011

I’ve determined that if you’re not a bird watcher when you move to Florida, you eventually become one. Whether it’s the Red Wing Blackbird that catches your eye, or the statuesque herons and cranes, something inevitably draws you in. Several have caught my attention by now, and I seem to be looking for them everywhere I go.

From the Sandhill Cranes (which I wrote an earlier post on)…

Sandhill Crane (photo by Matt O'Neill)

to the graceful herons.

Great Blue Heron (photo by Matt O'Neill)

 

White Heron (photo by Matt O'Neill)

 
From the hawks that fly over our house daily, to the ospreys and owls. I enjoy them all.
 

Osprey (photo by Matt O'Neill)

 

Barred Owl (photo by Matt O'Neill)

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Owl Antics

August 17, 2010

Just when I think there can be no more surprises, one happens.  Such as this one, resting in a tree in broad daylight.

If I’m correct, this is a Barred Owl, with dark streaks on its chest, and dark eyes (most owls’ eyes are yellow).   

It’s hard to believe this is the face of a bird of prey.  But it is.  It eats mice, rabbits, squirrels, bats, fish and snakes.  And apparently it eats the entire animal before regurgitating what it cannot digest, such as the bones and fur.  Not a pleasant thought any way you look at it.

The Barred Owl…

  • is nocturnal, but it is not unusual to see one during the day, perched on a branch, waiting for dusk to seek its prey
  • is not fearful of humans and will stare at you, as this one did me
  • does not build its own nest, but instead seeks hollows in trees, or other birds’ nests
  • is sometimes called an eight hooter, rain owl, wood owl, striped owl or hoot owl
  • has a call many refer to as “who cooks for you, who cooks for you all.”

This is one surprise I wouldn’t mind seeing again and again.