Readers’ wildlife photographs

When you’re reading this, I’ll be somewhere over the Pacific, I think. Today’s version is truncated, but two readers sent in owls, and I wanted to put them up, scheduling them in advance.  The first two photos are from reader Don Bredes; his notes are indented:

This winter we’ve frequently spied a barred owl (Strix varia) nearby, perching sometimes in the spruces alongside our driveway and spooking the chickadees and red squirrels.  This evening he came right to the deck and stuck around for about ten minutes.
And from Lee Beringsmith in California:
While working in an old garage on my ranch, I noticed some fresh bird droppings on the floor. Glancing up and expecting to see a few sparrows , was I ever surprised to see this magnificent barn owl (Tyto alba) staring down at me. Being just a few feet from such a beautiful creature was something I will treasure for a long time. I did manage to get a photo on my smartphone to remember the experience.


  1. Posted March 16, 2017 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    Barn owls are remarkably widespread – Wikipedia says “The barn owl is the most widespread landbird species in the world” – peculiar though where it is absent for example east Asia & Russia, large parts of Romania. Where did it evolve & spread from initially, seeing as it is sedentary. However I note that they have been recently found in New Zealand so they are still spreading naturally. Extraordinary!

  2. rickflick
    Posted March 16, 2017 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    The owl is a big favorite of mine. Thanks for the pics. The barn owl is striking with it’s lines and curves. It illustrated the concave sound amplifiers on the sides of it’s head.

  3. Randy schenck
    Posted March 16, 2017 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Must be nice having the barred owl come right up to the house. Must have camera at the ready.

  4. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted March 16, 2017 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Very good. When living in San Diego we had a barn owl that liked to roost at night just outside our condo. When I first heard its screeches, I went out to investigate and was stunned to see what it was.

    • Richard Bond
      Posted March 16, 2017 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      From about six years old until I left home I had a bedroom that overlooked a complex of shallow valleys. I often heard barn owls in the distance. One night I was startled awake by the most extraordinary screech right outside my bedroom window. It was a barn owl perched on a tree a few metres away. How can a creature so small can produce that volume? One rival, on a loudness per size basis, is the wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) in the UK: if you annoy it you become the subject of the most appalling swearing.

      • HaggisForBrains
        Posted March 17, 2017 at 5:53 am | Permalink

        Why the name (Troglodytes); do they nest in holes?

        • Richard Bond
          Posted March 17, 2017 at 9:00 am | Permalink

          They are so small that they have a problem keeping warm in winter. A few weeks ago I saw one going into a deep a hole in a wall, possibly to keep out of the wind? Perhaps that behaviour is fairly common, and their use of small cave-like features gave them their name.

  5. Hempenstein
    Posted March 16, 2017 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    Best I’ve done in 67yrs is a few screech owlets on a branch by my back porch once. I hear them all the time but never see them. Sigh.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted March 16, 2017 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      I’ve been able to hear a Ruru (native NZ owl aka morepork because that’s the sound it makes) for about three years now, but I’ve never seen it. The Ruru call you is very sweet and I love lying in bed listening to it. Makes me feel like I’m a kid out camping in the bush (native forest) again.

      • Hempenstein
        Posted March 16, 2017 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

        Cool! I had an ornithologist colleague who could call the screech owls in. When I try it, they reply at first but then recognize that there’s an impostor out there.

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