April 2014: Barred Owls


 Photos from the April 12th trip courtesy of Mary Hugo

Barred Owls are common in the Midsouth area and are quite fond of the Wolf River wetlands. The big birds can occasionally be seen flying silently through the trees or perched high in the branches, and are often heard making their distinctive "who cooks for you, who cooks for you-all" call.  On the Ghost River trip on April 12, several paddlers had already caught glimpses of one or more adults, but it was a rare treat indeed to see two downy youngsters perched in a small tree right at the water's edge, one at eye level, one sitting a bit higher in the tree, presumably waiting for their parents to return with something to eat.  The group encountered the fledgling owls after leaving the lunch stop and entering the Ghost section.  Barred Owl young hatch after about 30 days and leave the nest at 4-5 weeks of age, well before they are fully feathered or independent.  They remain dependent on their parents until around June.

Check out this great Live Barred Owl Nest Cam recommended by Debbie Bruce at Wild Birds Unlimited!

Learn more about Barred Owls HERE.

Our THANKS to Kate Gooch for being the BIRDER-IN-CHIEF on the April 12th trip!  Some of the other birds seen and/or heard that day:  Bald Eagle, Prothonotary Warbler, Hooded Warbler, Northern Parula Warbler, White-eyed Vireo, Belted Kingfisher, Great Blue Heron, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse (see the complete list below). A wildflower called Smooth-leaved Rock Cress (Arabis laevigata) was blooming in profusion along the banks.  We saw many Tiger Swallowtail Butterflies, at least one Monarch, and several unidentified black butterflies, as well as a few water snakes, a Southern Painted Turtle, and a Broad-headed Skink!

April 12, 2014; Wolf River between LaGrange and Bateman; 39 bird species
Canada Goose-4
Wood Duck-8
Blue-winged teal-2
Great Blue Heron-3
Great Egret-3
Turkey Vulture-1
Bald Eagle-2
Broad-winged or red-shouldered hawk-1
American coot maybe-2
BARRED OWL - 2 fledgings.
RT Hummingbird- 1
Red-bellied WP- 4
Downy WP-1
N Flicker- 3
Pileated WP- 2
Great-crested FC- 1
White-eyed vireo- 1000, I mean 53
Red Eyed vireo-5
Blue Jay-6
Am Crow-10
Tree Swallow-10
Carolina Chickadee-12
Tufted Titmouse- 1000 I mean 42
Carolina Wren-21
Blue Gray Gnatcatcher- 9
Eastern Bluebird-1
N Parula Warbler-17
Chestnut sided Warbler-1
Yellow Rumped Warbler -5
Yellow Throated Warbler - 15
Black and White Warbler - 1
Prothonotary Warbler- 14
Common Yellow Throat- 2
Hooded Warbler - 1 ??
3 unidentified warbler calls
Eastern Towhee -3
Field Sparrow-1
White Throated Sparrow-3
Northern Cardinal- 12
Indigo Bunting 2 maybe
Common Grackle -1


Posted by Cathy Justis at 1:53 PM