Thursday, March 26, 2015

Great Horned Owl Menu

Just been learning a ton about these guys by being able to observe them. They are known as the tigers of the forest for 2 reasons. One is the tiger like striping and two is the tiger like ferocity with which they take their prey. I've been going through their pellets and checking near the nest for signs of what they have been taking. Here's a grim sample. First and foremost is the eastern grey squirrel. Also in this pic is a american woodcock and ground squirrel. They are also taking quite a few eastern cottontail. In their pellets I have found American Robin, Mourning Dove and Rock Dove (including the band). Unfortunately they also killed this adult male Red-phase Eastern Screech Owl. Ill be looking for the rest of that ESO family, hopefully they are ok.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Great Horned Owlet Rescue

Now that the babies are bigger they have been tromping around the nest. That coupled with the soggy wet snow we've been having, has made for a dicey situation. By yesterday morning, pretty much all of the nest had come down and the two youngsters were huddled together on a platform type branch, some 60 feet up. When I returned to the nest yesterday afternoon, much to my surprise, one of the babies was sitting silently on the ground. I scooped him up and after a quick inspection realized that it was somehow unhurt by its fall. After calling the Raptor Trust, they put me in touch with a rehabber in Tom's River, the Tom's River Avian Care facility and off we went. I gotta tell you on the ride over, we definitely bonded. This is one cute owl and my first great horned owl rescue. So thankful it has so far worked out and I'll be sure to update the bloggy as the situation develops.

Thursday, March 19, 2015


Looks like two of them up there. Its so great to see the tiger of the forest treat her babies with such loving tenderness. Good luck little guys!!!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Well That Only Took 1 Year

Birding out in the Pinelands of NJ I have come across owls fairly regularly. They love these dense pitch pine forests and the plentiful mammals that feast on the seeds. But actually spotting them is very, very difficult. For the past year I have been using the tried and true method of collecting pellets, finding the white wash and then reverse triangulating to find the roost. In this way I have found a few screech, snowys, saw-whets, barn owls, short eared owls, long eared owls and one great horned owl. Due to the presence of bald eagles in my area, all of these birds are very shy and very well concealed. Never using the same roost for more than a week at a time, it has become a real challenge to find a nest. This week after the snow melt, after months and months of searching, it finally happened. At fly out the past few nights there have been great vocalizations and a nest exchange with a possible feeding. There are no lights were I am so night photography is virtually least as long as the moon is a waning crescent. Hopefully the chicks will continue to grow and it wont be too long before I can get some daytime shots of them. Good luck hooters!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Final Tally

Been super busy with all my projects to have had the time to finalize my BY2014 count. But here it is... #351 sandhill crane #352 grasshopper sparrow #353 swamp sparrow #354 seaside sparrow #355 saltmarsh sparrow #356 swamp wren #357 winter wren #358 orange crowned warbler #359 dunlin #360 piping plover #361 black-throated blue warbler #362 blue-headed parrot #363 cackling goose #364 barnacle goose #365 purple finch #366 pine siskin #367 american bittern #368 parasitic Jaeger #369 sharp-shinned hawk #370 broad-winged hawk #371 rough-legged hawk #372 barred owl #373 great horned owl #374 golden eagle #375 eastern screech owl.