Friday, March 1, 2013

Another Eastern Owl, February 25

A Barn Owl was reported on Saturday at Higginsport on a Cincinnati Bird Club field trip.  Today, I spent time inside putting together an estimate of my income for this year to be prepared for a telephone interview about Medicare.  Later in the afternoon, I left for Higginsport about 49 miles from my home and along  the Ohio River east of Cincinnati.  I timed this visit to be evening to dusk in hopes of seeing a Barn Owl leave the roost Sycamore Tree in which the owl was seen by Bill Stanley.  I arrived between 5:45 and 6:00 pm...and waited.  I got my camera ready, but that was overly optimistic.  The light decreased and soon I could barely see the cavity where the Barn Owl apparently roosts.  Eventually, I got out of my car parked next to a restaurant, and walked a side street to look through the tree toward the lights of Higginsport.   Across the ball field to the east I heard a call that sounded like a Barn Owl.  It was the short harsh or burry call with rising inflection that ends abruptly at the highest point.  This is a call made by Barn Owls when they are hunting and may also be a contact call.  However, I saw no owl.  The almost full moon was rising and the night was clear, perhaps I could still see a Barn Owl flying.  I returned to my car and waited, deciding to stay until 7:30 pm.  Just before I decided to call it quits for the evening, I heard another similar call almost above me, but I still could not find the bird.  I have seen Barn Owls flying while they make this call.  I also checked on the internet and verified that this call was indeed a Barn Owl.  I never saw a Barn Owl leave the tree; therefore, I wonder if this bird  was roosting elsewhere or if there is a Barn Owl on a nest in the cavity in the tree, and the bird I heard is the mate.   I am willing to count this bird, because it is not a new bird for me and I am acquainted with this Barn Owl call.  I expect to see a Barn Owl in further travels this year.  The total is now 144.   

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