Thursday, April 11, 2013

Wildlife Encounter

This morning on my way to work, I suddenly could not remember whether I had removed Ozzy's collar.  I knew that I would worry about it all day, so even though I was already a couple of miles from home, I turned around and went back. Of course, I had taken the collar off, but I can be a bit OCD about things, so to avoid worrying, I had to check!

Leaving home for the second time this morning, I heard a big commotion in the pine trees beside our driveway. While I was trying to see what was going on, a scream pierced the quiet morning and a Red-tailed Hawk swooped over my head in the direction of the pine trees. There was another mad scramble in the pine trees and a crow vacated the pines in a hurry, cawing.  The hawk and crow continued creating quite a ruckus, swooping back and forth, fighting and crying out. 

I ran back in the house to get my camera and then I walked underneath the pine trees to see if I could figure out what was creating the stir. I had thought that maybe there was a nest that they were fighting over.  Fortunately, I was wearing my new glasses, so I could actually see!

This is what I saw in the tree.

Photo by Kimberly Burnette-Dean

For a few seconds, I could not figure out what I was seeing. Then it hit me:  It was one of the many owls that I hear hooting at night!  I made a noise to try to get it to look at me.

Photo by Kimberly Burnette-Dean

Isn't it a beauty?  I'm not sure if this Barred Owl is a male or female because unless you see them together, it is difficult to distinguish the difference. The females are about a 1/3 bigger than males.

While I was looking at it and taking bunches of photos, the crow and hawk continued to fight with each other.  After the hawk flew directly at the crow and almost hit him, the crow cawed a couple more times and flew away. I think that the hawk then lost interest, because he left too. He probably didn't go far because we do have several red-tail hawks that I think live in the woods behind our house because I hear and see them often. I don't know if the owl was involved in the whole scene or if it was just an innocent bystander. The crow and hawk both were flying pretty close to the owl and the owl would get all ruffled up.

I wanted to watch longer, but I was already running a bit late for work and I just barely made it on time.  Even though I live in Roanoke City, I am so fortunate to have acres of National Park Service/Blue Ridge Parkway woods behind my house because I sure do get to see lots of wildlife.  I see more living here than I did when I lived in the country in Meadows of Dan!

Copyright 2013--All Rights Reserved--The Wheel & Distaff by Kimberly Burnette-Dean

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