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Native Californian, biologist, wildlife conservation consultant, retired Smithsonian scientist, father of two daughters, grandfather of four. INTJ. Believes nature is infinitely more interesting than shopping malls. Born 100 years too late.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Long-eared owl country

It was getting a bit toasty when we took our lunch in the shade of a juniper.

That's when we noticed the bunny tail, a gopher skull and a weathered owl pellet.

Craig's comment: this is a winter roost for long-eared owls.

When we walked up the draw a large bird flushed from one of the junipers.

The flushed bird was a loner, but according to Craig these junipers were the winter roosting area.

We caught a better glimpse of the owl a few minutes later.

It was a straggler that decided to hang around, and it might have nested in the area.

Judging from the number of rodent skulls on the ground long-ears must be thick here in the winter, and I recalled Bill Schmoker's fascinating documentation of a similar roost in Colorado.

We set our camera under a juniper in the heart of the owl roost.

Seeing the active roost this winter will be a special treat.


Anonymous said...

When ever my son made a new friend, we'd take them hunting for owl pellets. We knew anyone whose mom let them go out again with us was definitely a friend worth keeping.

Camera Trap Codger said...

That's cool. I've always regarded them as a treasure of sorts.

Owlman said...

Treasures they are for they tell a story of a bird well adapted to catch a rodent that can "catapult 6 feet" in every direction. Impressive birds they!