Wednesday, Oct 26, 2011
Yesterday morning was the first morning since last fall/winter that we've had "throw-up" outside the back doors of the Refuge...and man are we excited about it! GROSS - you say?! That's crazy and disgusting..you think to yourself. Well, that may be but finding the first Barn owl pellet of the season is a very exciting thing around here!
In fact, we've had excellent owl activity on the Refuge lately - with sighints of Barn owls, Great-horned owls and a Short-eared owl all within the past few weeks. Several of these species are getting geared up for the winter and the mating season - or perhaps deciding to move a bit further south if I'm a Short-eared...though they may stay as well. These amazing birds are rarely seen, nocturnal hunters . . . though in times of stress or while raising young . . . they are sometimes more obvious before dusk and just after dawn. But - the best way to tell if they've been around is usually the barf! You can't imagine, after the first few moments of being "grossed-out", how much fun and education visiting school kids get from dissecting owl pellets. They learn about the amazing birds themselves and find out first-hand what their diet is. Here on the Refuge we've found a lot of voles in the pellets - but also bullfrogs, snakes and other small birds. One very fresh pellet basically looked like mouse wrapped in frog...mmmmmmmmm!
So - be on the lookout for pellets in your area...or come by the Refuge Wildlife Education Center to see if we have any lying about, and make sure to ask for directions to good places on the Auto Loop to look for our hooting feathered friends of the owl variety.