Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Wildlife--This one's for BJ's Carol

I went into the barn the other day to find these two barn owls perched above the doorway.
I knew they were around: they've swooped down over my head a couple of times, but they seem to be getting used to my comings and goings, and don't necessarily leave when I enter now, though I often see only one at a time.
They're not quite as intimidating as the great-horned owl we had move in a few years ago.I'd like to think they are a mating pair, and today I saw one (I think the one with the lighter marking around it's face) climb into a nest in the eaves (but not the one above their heads in these photos). If that's the mama owl, she must not be brooding yet, as she spends an awful lot of time outside the nest. But maybe soon.
Oh, excuse me, I didn't mean to stare.

I noticed that the swallows are back again this year!
I'm so glad that their colony is growing.
Swallows consume A LOT of bugs, and their aerobatics are super fun to watch. I actually tried to get shots of them coming and going into the nests, but not one of my shots caught the speedy little guys in flight!
I don't think there are babies yet, still some nest building going on. Lots of horse hair and mud available lately!
This unit is a duplex.

Al started putting out seed for the wild birds a couple of winters ago, and hasn't had the heart to stop since. We have a very diverse flock that visits.

I believe these are mourning doves.
A red wing blackbird--very pretty, and he knows it!
Don't know what these little guys are.
I do know that these are magpies (at least I think so).
Again, not sure what they are...some sort of finch?
A little squabble shows off his striking wing pattern.
Very plump quail.
We also have some birds of prey, as well, though I've never seen them attack the feeding birds.
A hawk surveying the pasture...
...then taking flight when he became aware of the photographer.
(I saw the shadow of a hawk hovering over my tractor in the hayfield yesterday, waiting for me to chase out some tasty field mice.)

These two bald eagles (one immature) visited last fall.
We get a few elk in the neighborhood occasionally, but these were actually across the valley when I was out at the trainer guy's place.
And some not so wild life.

Whatca cookin laydee?
Uuum. Smellz gud.
Bar bee q beef!?!
Leave da poor kid alone, laydee!


  1. I am incredibly envious of your owls! All of our swallows are back this year too, and there's babies already. I'd sure love to have a pair of barn owls kicking around, though. Do you think the owls are a threat to swallows, or are they more interested in rodentia?

  2. The owls are amazing! We have great horned owls nesting nearby, and I saw a long-eared owl once. We have barn swallows in the barn and sheds and also tree swallows in boxes and trees nearby - we can use all the help with the mosquitos that we can get.

  3. Oh my goodness! Thank you! Like dp, I am envious of those owls. What an impressive assortment of wildlife there is around you. I'm writing this from school (while the rock band rehearses for tomorrow's Canada Day b-b-q) and don't have bird books with me. The birds with the rose colouring could be house finches or possibly purple finches and there is a yellow finch in the middle in one of the pictures. I think you have some yellow-headed crows as well. Wow! Do you know, I have never seen magpies and never laid eyes on elk? No photos of quail either. I really enjoyed this post.. including the not so wildlife:)

  4. dp-- The owls are inside, and share the nesting spots in the eaves with the doves and pigeons, so they don't seem to have any conflict with the swallows, outside.
    They DO seem to keep the mice under control. We haven't had any barn cats (except one or two ferals that drop by from time to time) since the summer before the great horned owls were first here--we had three different beloved cats disappear in the course of the year! I blamed it on the coyotes at first, but have had similar problems with great horned owls in the past, so now I wonder. At any rate, PanKake is an exclusively indoor kitty!

  5. Great shots, I don't know what some of those birds are either. Love the owls though, how neat is that they are staying with you. I'll bet you won't have a mouse problem.