Content & Photos © Bill Schmoker unless noted otherwise. Thanks for visiting- drop me a comment!

Friday, July 02, 2010

Junk Birds

Well, actually really cool birds, hiding under a bunch of junk!

Last November, John Barr & I put up a Barn Owl box in a pole barn on property he has access to in Weld County, and about immediately the resident Barn Owl traded in its exposed post for the security of the box. This spring there was every sign that birds were nesting but we kept our distance to minimize disturbance. On 29 June John decided to poke his head (& camera) around the barn's side wall and was rewarded with three fledglings teed up shoulder to shoulder! I went back with him yesterday (1 July), and it seemed like we were skunked. I figured the magic window of opportunity was gone and the birds had moved out. But when I was looking at some bones in the massive pellet midden under the box, I saw a feather under a pile of junk in the corner of the barn. At first I thought it might have been molted, but when I let my eyes adjust to the darkness under an old steel barrel I started seeing more feather detail. My heart sank as I thought I was seeing part of the carcass of one of the owls. But then, by changing my angle a little I saw a facial disk with a black eye looking back at me! By peering in under the barrel, behind a culvert pipe, and under a manky cardboard box I could count all three hiding down under the junk, but only a little piece of owl at a time. I'll bet they were tired of the heat up in the barn rafters and were seeking a little cooler day roost.

Sorry for the shaky vid but you'll get the idea of what I'm talking about. For a better viewing experience open it up in YouTube and select HD.

No comments: