I’m off to Poland, so if you have wildlife photos to send, please do it beginning Saturday, after I’m settled. Today we have some avifauna from reader Karen Bartelt.
High Cliff State Park, near Appleton, WI, has become a favorite place to visit. We camped there for three days in late July. The first night, we heard noises resembling a hiss mixed with a screech. It was dark, but I saw the outline of an owl. The sound matched that of a northern saw-whet owl (Aegolius acadicus), according to Cornell’s Merlin bird app. Great, I thought.The sounds persisted all night. At first light, I found the owls. Surprise—barred owls (Strix varia). Barred owls live in our backyard, making the familiar “Who cooks for you?” call. [JAC: see below.] I heard one last night, in fact. I’ve never heard the hissy-screechy call before. [JAC: go here to hear that, clicking on the “fledgling begging call.”] However, a bit of extra research indicated that these were probably large juveniles, begging for food from their parents. We only saw two of them, but other campers reported seeing three. The first two photos are at first light; the third was about 10am when the owl was napping closer to the ground. We were so fortunate to experience these birds because they were gone by that evening.
JAC: Here’s a video of a barred owl giving the “who cooks for you?” call, though it doesn’t sound much like that to me!
The other photos show a green heron (Butorides striatus) as it waits, pounces, comes up with a crayfish, and gulps it down. We watched the bird for about 20 minutes. It was very focused!