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MAR. 3, 2016

What’s in Your Backyard?

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Noni Waite-Kucera, Executive Director

“Who Cooks for You” can be heard every evening this time of year at my house.  Each time it makes me stop and give thanks that these beautiful creatures are able to live so closely with us humans in a very urban area.  The Barred Owl has moved in and stayed in our neck of the woods.  What a gift.

Moving toward twilight we’ll hear the song birds and squirrels put up their warning calls.  Our dog Quoddy hears this too and fixes his eyes skyward.  Without fail, a pair of Barred Owls will glide silently from the front of our house to our backyard where they will set up for the evening hunt.

From their perch in our maple and nearby poplar trees they call to each other and to others across the park defining who is in the neighborhood that evening. They linger 5- 10 minutes, then off they go to the hunt.

This time of year is mating season which we know will soon bring owlets to our backyard.  Last year we had two who made it from their nesting cavity in the beech tree in the park behind our house all the way to our yard.  These young birds can’t fly but they can glide for a long way.   From their cavity they will glide out until they land on another tree or on the ground.  This leads to a long climb back up a tree using their beak, feet and flaps of the wings.  It is unlike anything I have ever seen but it is efficient and with each climb the wings strengthen for their soon to be flights.


I am excited and hopeful for more owlets this year climbing our trees and calling to their parents for more food.  They are hungry little things!

I encourage you to head out an area near you, maybe even your backyard and see if you can spot an owl or two. Their preferred habitats range from swamps to stream sides to uplands, and may contain hemlock, maple, oak, hickory, beech, aspen, white spruce, quaking aspen, balsam poplar, Douglas-fir, lodge pole pine, or western larch.  If you would like to learn more I encourage you to check out this site:  If you are at camp or OA this year certainly you will hear these guys as well as the Great Horned and Screech Owls.

Here’s a cute video of a little owlet perched just outside my window.

These pictures and video were taken of the owlets growing up in our backyard.

Noni Waite-Kucera, Executive Director