[Tweeters] Arboretum Barred Owls

J. Acker owler at sounddsl.com
Sun May 10 10:16:59 PDT 2015

Yesterday afternoon my wife and I came across a young Barred Owl on the
ground, after having seen an adult perched in a tree just north of the
Rhododendron gardens. I placed the youngster on a limb off the ground, and
saw the other parent in attendance.

There may, and probably are, more young in the area, as Barred Owls
typically have 3 young. The others may still be in the nest, as this
youngster appeared to be only 3+ weeks old. Based on a large amount of
whitewash under what I assumed to be a favorite roost tree, I would guess
that the nest was in the immediate vicinity.

Young owls, both Barred and Great Horned, occasionally end up on the ground
as they grow through the awkward "brancher" stage. Not able to fly, but
able to be mobile by using beak, talons, and assisted by flapping, the young
owls develop motor skills that enable them to later fly. This stage also
gets them out of the nest earlier. The biggest threat to young barred owls
is predation in the nest by raccoons. On the ground, they are exposed to
coyotes, raccoons, cats, and unleashed dogs. The parents will watch over
them, and some adults become particularly aggressive towards perceived
threats to their young. It is not unheard of for Barred Owls to attack an
unsuspecting human in defense of their young.

I notified the receptionist of the owl family with the hopes of closing that
section of the trail to human use, as I see it as a preventable accident
waiting to happen.

-J. Acker

owler at sounddsl.com <mailto:owler at sounddsl.com>

Bainbridge Island, WA

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