August 12, 2007

Owls in the Woods!

We saw two owls today!!! Right here in Seattle... in the woods in the Arboretum.

This might not seem like much... except that my spouse, the birder, has been obsessed with seeing an owl for years.... without ever seeing one.

So imagine the wonder of walking through a city park, on a bright summer morning and having a giant owl come swooping past overhead, mobbed by a dozen cawing crows. And even odder, I was just at that moment talking about owls.

And then another owl swooped past!

All in all it was an incredible rarity to see two owls in the daytime, at a low perch near a trail!
And even luckier, I brought the camera along...

They just sat there for about 20 minutes... once the crows finally left them alone. It was wonderful... and totally unexpected. That's the weird thing about birding... you never know what might happen.

Owls are such mysterious gorgeous birds....

We went back to look for the owls again today... and they were right back on the same branch again! They have no fear of people... as we stood there watching them for 30 minutes just 15 feet away.

Owls are so much like cats! They even do the grooming and stretching of legs and cleaning up their ruffs... just like cats. By the way... these are Barred Owls.


PG said...

Wow, what a fantastic experience, I would be so thrilled to see these fellas in our woods! And even better to have the camera handy. (usually it's sod's law that it's at home when the exciting things happenP

John Nez said...

Quite true about that 'sod's law' phenomenon... it's almost a predictor of interesting scenes to be found, IF one leaves the camera behind.


Paula Pertile said...

Oh, wow! Owls are wicked cool. I didn't know they were like cats in any way. But it doesn't surprise me, now that I think about it.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely love owls.

tlc illustration said...

That is pretty impressive. I'm amazed at what one can see around here - even in full-out suburbia. We had two racoons climbing the trees in the back yard a week or so ago. And coyote sightings in the neighborhood - and I couldn't be in a more surburbian area here on the east side.

Leanne Gilliam said...

Hello John,
I am in Seattle and recently had a friend see a Barred owl in the arboretum. My husband and I, being quite the owl enthusiasts would love to know where-abouts in the arboretum you spotted these owl-lees. Thank you for your help!


John Nez said...

The preferred habitat of the barred owl is deep woods in valleys with water.

If you're familiar with the Arboretum, there is a first pond alongside the main walkway... as you walk south from the visitor center. There's a little japanese wooden deck built on one edge of this pond, (to distinguish it from the other pond further south).

Anyhow, the woods adjacent to this pond is where the owls have been for the last 2 weeks. Look especially in the tall cedars just about 15 yards to the northeast of the pond.

We saw THREE owls there the other day!
The two juveniles and the mother (I guess)

Good luck owling!

Gabriele C. said...

Wow, that are some amazing pics, and what a wonderful experience. I love owls.