[Tweeters] Barred Owls feeding young at Camp Long - West Seattle

J. Acker owler at sounddsl.com
Mon Jun 20 16:41:15 PDT 2005

No need to hurry over. They should be hanging around for another month, and
will only get noisier. If they are not visible, late evening is usually a
very productive time of day to locate them. The young will call several
times a minute, the described, long drawn out, slightly ascending, "Psssst!"
I conduct my annual census of Barreds here on Bainbridge in July, as it is
easy to locate the young by their call. It will carry for 1/4 mile.

Another nest of triplets is also of interest. Two of the four nests I
climbed this spring had triplets as well. For info, Spotted owls tend to
produce two usually, but every other year.


-----Original Message-----
From: tweeters-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu
[mailto:tweeters-bounces at mailman1.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Stewart
Sent: Sunday, June 19, 2005 9:45 PM
To: tweeters
Subject: [Tweeters] Barred Owls feeding young at Camp Long - West Seattle

There are 3 fledged, but still dependent and still a bit fluffy Barred
owlets that hang out in the woods at Camp Long in West Seattle. They are
usually near the kiosk just inside the woods north of the pond (just down
hill from the pond along the main trail). They can often be heard making
high pitched calls (kind of between a squeek and a hiss) that I expect mean
"feed me". They are curious and like to checkout the people, bobbing their
heads around while looking at you and show little, if any fear.

Today at 8:00 pm I saw the mom (dad?) swoop down to the ground to catch a
helpless animal, which I then saw dangling from its beak. It then went over
to one of the owlets to feed it. I'm pretty sure it was an earthworm. I
was a bit surprised, as I hadn't known of this being a barred owl prey
animal. I did a short search and found other references to Barred Owls
eating earthworms during the day as a Robin might scratching the leaf litter
to get them:

"From Tue, 30 Mar 1999 14:12:34 -0600
Sender: "National Birding Hotline Cooperative (Chat Line)"
Michael Shepard writes:

> Jared Hobbs of the BC Ministry of the Environment recently

> observed a Barred Owl repeatedly feeding on worms during the

> day last weekend. The bird (he believes the resident female)

> would swoop down to the ground, flip over leaves like a

> Robin, and catch and eat the worms."

After the worm feeding I got to watch the mom doing what I call the "whoop
whoop whoop..." call from close up (my first visual observation of Barred
Owls making this call). The tameness of this group makes for easy

A few days ago in the afternoon on a nature walk I was leading my group saw
it tearing tasty looking chunks of a rat (I'd bet a Norway Rat) and feeding
the owlets. My group was salivating jealously.

I'm afraid the park is closed on Monday for any of you who wanted to head
over there right away.

My co-worker says he used to hear and see a lot more Screech Owls and
possibly other owls and suspects the Barred Owls have eaten or displaced the
others. He is worried by the successful reproduction of our recent
immigrant owl species (the Barred Owl). So far, as far as I know none of us
has seen or heard Western Screech this year. We once heard up to 4 or 5
Screech Owls calling from around the pond on a night salamander hunt program
I was leading a few years ago.

Stewart Wechsler
Ecological Consulting
West Seattle
206 932-7225
ecostewart at quidnunc.net

-Advice on the most site-appropriate native plants
and how to enhance habitat for the maximum diversity
of plants and animals
-Educational programs, nature walks and field trips
-Botanical Surveys

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