Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Monitoring an Owl Family-The Best Part of My Commute

Adult owl protecting its babies.
It was just yesterday morning that I was mid-way up a short hill, spinning in low gear, going through the motions of my usual commute when runners and dog walkers stood, trail-side, staring at a dead tree trunk. Always curious, I cruised easily to a stop, put my foot down and gawked at two baby owls fluffing their feathers in the cavity of a pockmarked, dead tree.

The adult hangs out, diverting the crow from it's nest.
And so it was that I was nearly late for work. It's not every day that one comes across an owl, not to mention two, and babies. They are common barred owls, the only species I've ever seen in Vermont, easily identified by it's black eyes.

Two baby owls are nestled in a protected cavity.
Later that afternoon, I cruised down the hill, braking to a stop to gather with 4-5 people. One woman had set up a tripod with foot-long lens just as an adult owl swooped onto a nearby branch after just evading a daring, noisy crow. The parental owl stayed that way for 20 minutes, seemingly unperturbed and I eventually, pedaled home.

This morning, I stopped again, surprised by the big owl, standing sentinel in the nest's doorway as a baby owl was barely visible behind. I whipped out my camera, fiddled with the failing battery and eventually captured a good photo. By the time the afternoon rolled around, my husband met me near my office and we rode home together just so I could show him the owls. But don't you know, not even the babies were on display, which leaves me wondering if they've flown the coop?

Either way, I was privy to something special, and wholly unique in a city park. Bike commutes don't get much better than this.


  1. Spring is a wonderful time of the year for bird watching. I have been knocked in the back of the head a few times by ma ma birds when I invaded their space.

  2. Wow. That makes it worth it to be late to work.

  3. Nice sighting. Hope they won't get spooked by too many viewers. Thanks for posting.

  4. Very cool. Owls amaze me. They seem so mysterious and are hard to spot.


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