I have been meaning to write all winter (to both this list, and esp. e-bird) about the Barred Owl that has been at our feeder on and off all winter. It sits on a small, cut off branch above our feeder and blends in really well with the birch tree it is on. But it has been so, so tame, that I know that it is hurting. I called our local raptor re-habilitator a few months ago, and he came over and tried to capture the owl. He actually got him or her in the net and she managed to get free. The next few nights were bitter and I never thought we would see the owl again. But the owl has been back several times. Today she or he was back....the branch is right adjacent to the driveway, and the owl didn't move when people walked by, or even when I scraped the ice off my car right next to it, (which I had to do to be available to pick up my son from the doctor's, who broke his arm.). I called the re-habilitator again and he came over, but the owl must have recognized the net and then took off, in spite of much, much activity during the day right next to the bird. All day, the owl didn't even seem to notice the red squirrel activity right near it (I know that it is the upper end of it's abilities to kill one). I worry once again that this owl won't make it, as I am pretty sure many Barred Owls haven't this winter. It can only be stress that creates a situation where they are so near human activity.
The last time I had an owl so close to my home, and at my feeder was in , I believe 1979, another year with a lot of snow and little ability to hunt for raptors that needed small rodents. This year, though, seems particularly hard for any animal that needs to hunt small rodents under the snow. We have had such a large snow cover for at least three months! It is so interesting to hear about all the Barred Owl activity this winter in our state. Imagine being able to understand all the various webs of needs of all the live things that live with us each season. Evergreen in Jericho