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View Diary: The Daily Bucket: Between the Rains (51 comments)

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  •  We have a Barred Owl problem (17+ / 0-)

    To be be accurate, it's the Barred Owls that have a problem this season. The people enjoy seeing these magnificent birds of prey.

    There was a terrific writeup in the Keene Sentinel [NH] last Thursday explaining the issue. The front page picture of a Barred Owl looks like a painting. It's not.  

    Unusual things happen when we experience unusual swings in seasonal weather. The region provides excellent habitat for Barred Owls. I hear them often. Occassionally, I see one. Last winter was unusually mild with little snow cover. So there was an abundance of small critters, chipmunks and voles in particular, so the owl population grew substantially. Easy pickings for the young ones, so the survival rate was high.

    Until a couple of months ago, there was little to no snow cover. Then it snowed a couple of feet and thatwed and refroze several times. Now the young owls are hungry. They don't know how to break trhough the crust. It's hard on young foxes and bobcats, too.

    So the owls have become active during the daytime. They've been hanging out near bird feeders looking for prey.

    This is the view of our backyard right now. No owls, though. Just a view of the Currier and Ives region.

    There are signs that the elusive Pileated Woodpeckers have been busy. (Taken last summer). The rectangular fake nest holes tell the story.

    "Never wrestle with a pig: you get dirty and the pig enjoys it"

    by GrumpyOldGeek on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 09:10:58 AM PST

    •  yup - check out what I saw yesterday :) (16+ / 0-)

      Since I was down in their woods, a Pileated came up into my yard to work over this old stump I left by the shed.

      "As long as Unicorns roam the earth, evil can never harm the pure of heart."

      by PHScott on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 09:37:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I bet that took less than 5 minutes (7+ / 0-)

        Yummy, yummy, yummy, grubs, grubs, grubs.

        I'm in awe of their ability to chop such large chunks of wood out of live pine trees. I don't think I could do that with a large chisel and a 5 lb sledge hammer. They can make a fake nest hole in about 10 minutes. The picture doesn't show that these holes are about 5x3 inches and about 3 inches deep. They leave a pile of splinters much like the ones in your picture.

        We used to have a pair nesting near our house in the woods. We've pointed them out to several house guests who have never seen one. They're always taken aback by their size. Then they understand how Woody Woodpecker came about. These aren't your average-sized woodpeckers, for sure.

        Their nest (or their offspring's) is now farther back in the woods so we can't see them out our windows any more. But we hear the calls loud and clear. And the distinctive territorial hammering. In flight, they're fairly easy to recognize.

        "Never wrestle with a pig: you get dirty and the pig enjoys it"

        by GrumpyOldGeek on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 12:43:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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