Saturday, March 07, 2009

Valkyrie Hunts, Blackwater Eagle Feeding, Sutton Egg Turning, Tulsa Status, and the Wisconsin Great Horned Owl is Back

Photographic Art of Valkyrie, the Tompkins Square Red-tail by Francois Portmann who says, "Here's, a little precision strike at Tompkins Square Park!"

Screen Capture courtesy of the Blackwater Eagle Cam.
R. of Illinois says, "Blackwater adult feeding two tiny tiny gray chicks."

Courtesy of the Sutton Eagle Cam.
Capture made by Maizie of the Tulsa Hawk Forum
Bald Eagle parent turns the three eggs. Note the foot and talon position.

How are Tulsa's Kay and Jay? From Jackie of the Tulsa Forum—"Still no eggs!"

It was 61 F. today so I was out in the muddy yard doing a little winter clean up when what should I come across, but another neatly decapitated Bunny. Yes, it looks like the Great Horned Owl is back in town.

It amazes me that there is no blood on the ground, on the fur, on any in the area in which I find these rabbits.

Yesterday, late afternoon, I kept hearing a rolling call that made me think owl but I couldn't actually place where I had heard it or from whom. I searched and the sound seemed to move around the neighborhood, or more likely was echoing differently off the buildings as the caller shifted the direction in which she was directing the sound.

After finding the rabbit, I then searched the neighborhood for a possible roosting spot. Though it eventually became near time for Owl to start preping and preening before fly-out, not one crow, or jay, could be heard mobbing any bird as is the usual harassment tactic, before a fly out. I admit I did not get even close to what a full hunting area might be for a Great Horned so I'll keep checking. There is a small woods with a mowed field in front of it, across the street and beyond the high school which will be my next search area. We'll see what can be found.

Speaking of finding things, I found this scat within a foot of No Head Bunny. I've just looked through hundreds of scat photos without coming up with a match. The closest was that of a fox. But it seems completely unlikely that a fox would just leave a nice fresh bunny body just lying there. Does anyone know what owl scat looks like? I couldn't find any photos but this doesn't have any of the "white wash" that most bird scat has due to it's uric acid content.

The Geese began to move two days ago and now the Starlings have returned too. This afternoon I heard the twittering of Goldfinch and lo and behold two males were disputing territory. Spring is at least thinking about happening. Though the weatherman says we're going to have more snow on Sunday night.

Out at Thresherman's Park, the six Crow family group that overwintered here seems to have increased by two suddenly.

And hardy Steam the Red-tailed Hawk tiercel who hunts Thresherman's Park and who I have watched faithfully guard he and his mate's territory through two hard winters, sits on a favorite pole hunting. And I wouldn't doubt keeping an eye out for his mate to return safely from her soujourn south, where I believe she winters. There, without the heavy snow cover she can more easily find the higher number of calories she needs for her larger size and return healthy and plump for the upcoming breeding season.

Donegal Browne


Sally said...

Hi Donna. I've scrubbed lots of owl "scat" and it doesn't look much different than hawk mutes, though it is stinkier I think! It has the large amount of white urates. And as far as that "scat" photo goes, could that be drying bunny entrails? Its hard to tell from the photo, but when we have used rabbits for "school" for the juvenile RT's and GHOS in the flight cages, they leave the long nasty entrails and they look a lot like what you have photographed. Just a possibility.

Donegal Browne said...

(This may be a bit graphic for some folks.)


You may very well be right that the object in question is entrails of some sort. I too wondered about that. I couldn't decide if the gleam on them was intestinal tissue, you know how entrails have that sort of glossy look or the gloss was due to frozen moisture.

If entrails they must have been removed out the top as opposed to the bottom. Which makes perfect sense with the head removal.

Good to know that Owl scat has the same whitish uric content as any other bird scat I've seen.