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I've been lucky to be able to watch 3 different Hawk Owls over the 
years, and they seem to be incredibly good at spotting and catching 
rodents with one quick dive.  I saw very few misses.

The fascinating thing to me is that at least one of the three kept a 
couple of food caches nearby.  So it hunted pretty much without 
stopping, and if it caught more than it needed, it stuck the dead prey 
item in one of the caches for future meals.  I never saw and nobody I 
talked to ever saw it actually take and eat prey from one of those 
caches since there were abundant mice/voles and it had no problems 
feeding itself.

I've never heard of other owl species doing this, has anyone else?  I 
can't help but think of how useful a habit that would be if there was a 
melt/freeze cycle that put a heavy crust of ice over the snow and made 
it so much harder to catch rodents scurrying through the snow under the 
ice layer.

Jane

(Shoreham)


On 1/13/2014 10:04 PM, Liz Lackey wrote:
> 1 snowy owl present today at Knapp Airport in Berlin, VT.  A USDA
> wildlife service truck was in the proximity, setting up a bow net
> spring trap to capture it.  By the time we left, the trap had been
> dismantled, and taken away.  Then a second truck (not USDA) seemed to
> stay with the owl as it rested near the edge of the runway.  All this
> was occurring across the runway from either the cemetery or Benoitís
> Electric.  11:30-12:30pm.
>
> I later ran into an acquaintance who works adjacent to the USDA
> office there.  He reports that this office had only learned yesterday
> about a snowy owl being at the airport.  I donít know if the airport
> asked them to remove the bird, or not.  But I did find out that they
> aborted the trapping operation midday as they were uncomfortable
> having an audience (of birders).
>
> We did not see a second, darker snowy owl.
>
> We found a Northern Shrike in the SE corner of Comstock Rd/Scott Hill
> Rd intersection, not far from the airport.  It then flew across Scott
> Hill Rd., in a westerly direction.
>
> The Northern Hawk Owl was actively hunting in its usual location in
> Waterbury Center this morning at 10:30am.  It made a couple of low
> swoops across busy Rt 100, avoiding being hit by any cars.  Makes you
> wonder if it is skill or luck that has allowed it to survive in this
> territory for at least a month.  I hope it is skill.
>
> Enjoy birds
>
> Liz Lackey
>
>
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