Friday, November 10, 2006

Barred Owl

Today, students from Vance Elementary School toured the boardwalk in the warm sunshine. While moving along the second half of the walk, the calls of Barred Owls (Stix varia), "Who? Who? Who cooks for y'all?" could be heard. Owls have the advantage when hunting at night as their prey cannot see them approaching, but they can hunt successfully in the daytime also.

Barred Owls seem to eat anything within their power to kill. They eat mostly small mammals, especially small rodents (voles, mice, shrews). They also eat mammals like squirrels, wood rats, rabbits, opossums, chipmunks, hares and even bats. Other prey items include insects, crayfish, fish, reptiles (snakes and lizards), amphibians, and a good percentage of birds (caught as they roost on branches). That's quite a diet! Most of these prey items are not sufficiently aware to avoid a daylight attack from an owl.

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