Category Archives: Owls

Here’s Looking at You

Two days ago our friend Cindy (one of our bird ID experts) sent an email with these terrific photos of two Barred Owls taken in her back yard in a Sandy Springs subdivision.  She was generous enough to let us post the pictures along with her story which follows.

“My husband & I live in the southern Roswell neighborhood of Northcliff, near the Chattahoochee River.  It’s a heavily forested, residential area with people & dogs walking, biking, running & playing in the river.  Wildlife is abundant in the area, but setting up a couple of bird feeders & bird baths [has helped] to bring the critters closer to you for observation.”

Barred Owl“Two owls sometimes visit our backyard late in the afternoon or early evening while I water plants & clean birdbaths. They usually perch on a low tree branch to watch me as a handful of brave chickadees brazenly scold the much larger owls.  We are thankful to get to observe these owl friends from time to time — especially in our own backyard.”

“I am a 4th generation Atlanta native & my background is in education & environmental science. My love of nature & the outdoors was influenced by my grandparents, who maintained a backyard organic garden for decades, long before ‘organic’ was cool. As a child, I cherished visiting them — watching birds & playing with worms, skinks & garter snakes while doing our outdoor chores.”

Barred OwlWe have Barred Owls in Peachtree Park, but we haven’t been as successful as Cindy getting a picture.  However, we were able to record them calling in our back yard – check out our post title Who Cooks for You? from September.

Atlanta AudubonWe first met Cindy when she came to certify our yard as a wildlife sanctuary with the Atlanta Audubon Society.  It was fun and Cindy taught us a lot emphasizing these key attributes: “items like a water feature (birdbath), native plants that provide food, places for wildlife to hide (like  brush piles or shrubby area) & places for wildlife to nest & raise young.”

Join the fun and let’s get some more yards certified in Peachtree Park!

Who Cooks for You?

Barred Owl - Strix varia Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge - November, 2006

Barred Owl – Strix varia
photo taken in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in 2006

That’s the way we remember one of the calls of the Barred Owl – who_who who_whoooo (who cooks for you).

We’ve been hearing them in our yard and the yards adjoining this spring and summer.  Occasionally we’ll be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of two or three moving around in the pines at dusk.  At least two neighbors have reported that they have them nesting in their back yards.  One says they have been in residence for at least eight years.

Two nights ago at 2:00 a.m. we were awakened to a sound like the caterwauling of a howler monkey.  There were at least two talking back and forth.   Based on Cornell’s All About Birds site, we think this is a mated pair.

I went outside to get a recording and they were moving all around sometimes sounding only 15 or 20 feet away.  But since they are masters at stealth mode, I could neither see them nor hear them fly.  This went on for almost an hour.

Even though we rarely see these birds, we love hearing them at night.  And being such good nighttime hunters they help keep the rodent population in check.  We also have the Great Horned Owl and Eastern Screech-Owl here.  We’ll talk about them in a future post.