A number of years ago (2007) when there was a large number of barred owls
around in the fall, one owl took up residence in trees in front of the
dining hall at Green Mountain College. One evening, I went down to watch
it, along with a number of students. The owl did exactly as you described
- dropped to the ground and started turning over leaves. Surprised me. I
too did some research and concluded it was probably looking for earthworms
and/or beetles. Photos at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bugsnbirds/?
*Michael H. Blust*
Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, Mexico
Prof. Emer. Green Mountain College
On Sun, Apr 2, 2017 at 9:59 AM, Tyler <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Hi all,
> I'm curious if anyone else on this listserv has observed this behavior in
> Barred Owls before. I have found a small amount of literature on this, but
> it doesn't seem to be a very common behavior.
> My house has been hosting a Barred Owl every night (from dusk til dawn) in
> an Ash tree in our backyard for over a week now. Sometimes it even shows up
> before sunset. It is always there, no matter what time of night I look out
> there, always on the same branch. I had assumed it was feeding on the many
> rabbits and mice we have running around, but a few nights ago I started
> noticing 'her' dropping down onto the lawn, where there is no brush or
> vegetation anywhere nearby. I thought this would be strangely open
> territory for a mouse to be venturing, and then I saw what she was after.
> She was picking up earthworms. I've been observing her now and it appears
> that she is specializing in hunting worms. Last night I observed a rabbit
> feeding DIRECTLY BELOW HER (her perch is only 6 feet off the ground) and
> she completely ignored the rabbit, flew past it, and returned to her perch
> with another worm.
> Has anyone else observed this vermivorous behavior in owls before?
> Tyler Pockette