“WAITING FOR DARK”

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The owl is waiting. He has his prey in sight.

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The raccoon dares not move.

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He cowers…motionless between the branches.

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There’s a life and death drama going on in our treetops. Do you see it?

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I’ve circled the owl and raccoon to make them easier to find.

I know owls eat mice. I didn’t know they hunted raccoons. But, there’s no mistaking the owl’s intentions.

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His eyes are glued on the raccoon.

I’m hoping this owl has overreached and that his eyes are bigger than his hunting ability.

He’s a Barred Owl. Only, I probably should have said she. According to this Barred Owl site, the females are larger. Of all of the North American owls, the Barred Owl is the species most likely to be active during the day, especially when raising chicks. The chicks leave their nests at 4 weeks, before they are able to fly. They crawl out of the nest using their beak and talons to sit on branches. These owls are called branchers.

Parents care for the young for at least 4 months, much longer than most other owls. Young tend to disperse very short distances, usually less than 6 miles, before settling. Pairs mate for life and territories and nest sites are maintained for many years.

UPDATE: Today we walked the trails and looked everywhere. NO RACCOON FUR.

 More about Barred Owls:Barred Owls (Strix Varia)

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  1. Strawberry Lane’s avatar

    What amazing photography to zero in on that drama!

    It’s so great to finally be back and now able to catch up on all the things I’ve missed on your terrific blog.

    Hi Strawberry Lane,

    Wow sounds like you have been having quite a time on your farm.

    http://strawberry-lane.blogspot.com/

    Welcome back.

    Reply

  2. risingrainbow’s avatar

    Boy a raccoon is pretty ambitious for an owl. Those raccoons can be pretty fierce.

    http://risingrainbow.blogspot.com

    Hi Rising Rainbow,

    I read that this owl species will take on a fox during the season they feed their babies. I think it explains why our cats are staying so close to home this spring. They just go out long enough to do their business, but spend their days inside.

    Now it makes sense.

    Reply

  3. Laurie’s avatar

    Wow, that is fantastic! I’m so glad that you were able to capture it on film for us!

    Hi Laurie,

    I felt like we were filming a national geographic special. I had NO idea owls preyed upon animals as big as raccoons. But, this was a pretty determined owl. We have seen raccoons since (not sure if any of them were “that” raccoon or not). We’ve also seen the owl or his/her mate. One of our neighbors says we have an owl rookery.

    Reply

  4. sweetrosie’s avatar

    We don’t see many owls but there was one on the washing line once and we were all transfixed – I could have looked at him for hours – there’s something about them.

    We definately don’t have racoons, he looks very plump and cute 🙂 Do they bother your chickens or dig the garden up or anything?

    I love your photos 🙂

    Hi Rosie,

    We don’t have chickens. But, they do get into our garden, despite the fence. And my husband has had to put tomato cages around his new trees. The raccoons, deer, rabbits and groundhog all keep a close eye on our garden. 🙂 They are all cute.

    Reply

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