[Tweeters] Owl jumping around on the ground

Rob Sandelin nwnature1 at gmail.com
Sun Nov 10 08:56:47 PST 2013

Late afternoon in the deep shadows I saw movement in the woods and took a
bit of a round about detour to sneak up on whatever it was. Turning out to
be a Barred Owl perched on the ground. It was very actively moving its head
back and forth and then it sort of hop flew jumped sideways about 2 foot,
then hopped again, and then a third time. It moved in a straight line and
appeared to be playing hopscotch. Then I saw a movement on the ground and
realized the owl was after a red-legged frog which the owl nailed with its
next hop. To my surprise the owl picked up the frog and flew right at me,
landing on a cedar branch not much over my head. Since direct vertical
viewing was uncomfortable I moved back a few step, expecting the owl to
fly away. Instead it studied me with great interest, ignoring the morsel in
its talons. They have this humorous maneuver where they bob their head in a
circular motion. It looks really goofy and I think the owl took offense as I
laughed out loud and so it flew away. However it left the frog hanging off
the branch.

I just checked the branch this morning and the frog had fallen down and had
its stomach eaten by what looks like mice or rats. So from a Barred owl
point of view, frogs are fun to catch but not to eat?

Rob Sandelin
Naturalist, Writer, Teacher
Snohomish County

You can find my writings and online field guide at:

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