Tag Archive | Birds of prey

Neighborhood Barn Owl

When the cooler months begin in my neighborhood, and winter starts to stroll around the corner, I tend to see quite a few odd birds lurking in the nearby trees. We live directly across the street from the hills where coyotes, mountain lions, deer and hawks habitat. So I shouldn’t be so surprised when wildlife frequents our neighborhood, but it’s always a treat.

The last few weeks in the early morning while walking my dog, I’ve seen a fairly large bird propped up in the same tree across from my house. It’s not as large as a Hawk, but larger than the other birds that fly nearby. I found out that it’s a Prairie Falcon.

As I venture outside in the evening to walk my dog, I frequently see a very large white-faced bar owl take off from amongst the trees across the street from my house. I’ll never forget the first time I saw it about 2 years ago. It was perched on the fence very late one evening. I knew there was something there because it was very large and white. As my eyes finally adjusted to the darkness and I realized what I was looking at, it quickly spread its enormous wings and flew off, leaving the sound of its “whooshing” wings to reverberate in the silence on the night.

The Ghostly pale and strictly nocturnal, Barn Owls are silent predators of the night world. Lanky, with a whitish face, chest, and belly, this owl roosts in hidden, quiet places during the day. By night, they hunt on small critters in open fields and meadows. Despite a worldwide distribution, Barn Owls are declining in parts of their range due to habitat loss.

“live” cam of Barn Owls was setup at the Audubon Starr Ranch in Trabuco Canyon a few years ago. The male owl left the nest and didn’t return. The female owl instinctively went to look for a mate, abandoning the chicks. This video shows the chicks being fed by the Audubon to keep them alive.

Make sure you visit the “live” cam  at the Audubon website.  So fascinating to watch them.

Protect your pet from Birds of Prey

Often times in the morning we open up all the doors off the kitchen and let the fresh air in. This Saturday morning was no different. It was about 11am as we finished up breakfast in the kitchen nook. It was a beautiful sunny morning here in California, 70 degrees, clear skies. My dog Sadie is a small Shi-poo about 12 pounds. She loves the back yard, and ventured outside to make her rounds. She sat on the back patio scanning the yard, as she so frequently does before feeling comfortable enough to lie down. As I glanced up from my coffee I saw a large bird with an enormous wing span swoop down to grab my dog!  Sadie had not yet laid down, and with quick instinct and incredible reflexes she ducked out of the way. The bird turned around in flight and flew off!

My jaw (probably) hit the table. I had to blink and shake my head a few times to verify that what I just saw was real! I ran outside and looked up at a hawk flying around in the sky. That hawk came within inches of grabbing my dog!

I shared this event with my son later that day. My son had spent the night before at our neighbors house, and as they were on their way to breakfast that morning around 11am my neighbor saw the same hawk and oddly enough said, “Wow, that’s a pretty good sized hawk, people should watch their pets!”

Many birds of prey regularly hunt small animals, and they won’t distinguish between a wild creature and a beloved pet. Many pet owners fear for their pets when raptors are in the area, but there are easy steps every pet owner can take to protect their animal from becoming prey.

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