[Tweeters] Federal Way Owls

Randy randimal at comcast.net
Sat Feb 20 11:25:26 PST 2010

We have some fairly reliable Barred Owls here in Federal Way this year.
Since the weather has been great, Jeff Cohen and I went out last night to
see if we could get some close up photos. Our first stop was Dumas Bay.

We arrived a little before dark so we walked down to the beach to kill time.
On the way down we had a Great Horned Owl fly over at about 100 feet, flying
down from the roosting trees toward the marsh. Apparently the GHOs wake up
a bit ealier than the Barred who seem to wait until about 30 minutes after
sunset. A few minutes later we went back up toward the evergreen trees but
got no responses from any Barred Owls probably due to the GHO roosting in
the area.

We made a quick trip to Dash Point Park next. As soon as we hit the trial
we heard a pair of Barred Owls calling nearby. We quickly headed into the
best viewing area and picked a nice exposed stump about 12 feet away as our
photo roost. After one call a Barred flew in, but as always, flew past our
planned perch to land next to a tree trunk about 10 feet right above our
heads. I was holding both the MP3 player and spotlight so Jeff had camera
duty. The Barred stayed for about a minute and Jeff got several good shots.
The only hard part was getting the owl to look at us once in a while.

Once the owl flew off we tried several other viewing locations and managed
to get another unubstructed view at about 30 feet away and a third view at
about 60 feet away. I had camera duty for these shots, but the owls were
pretty good at not looking at the spotlight by now. I got one OK shot from
60 feet.

There was at least one pair of owls. They were calling a LOT, and were ofen
landing right next to each other and acting "kinda frisky." They rairly did
the "Who cooks for you" call, usually they just did half of it. When they
were up against each other they often did the loud simultaneous "monkey
bark" call. Everytime we moved and called again they did follow us,
although never landing as close as the first time.

I've put both my OK picture and Jeff's best picture on my picasa web site.

Randy Bjorklund
Federal Way, WA

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