Sunday afternoon as I was returning home from a photo shoot of some woodland wildflowers, one of my neighbors stopped me on the road, just before I reached my driveway. He asked me if I had seen the baby owl about a quarter mile down the road. I had not seen it, most likely due to the dust created from following my neighbor on our gravel road. He told me the little guy was on the ground at one of our neighbor’s driveway. Without hesitation, I turned my pickup truck around and headed back. When I reached the spot where the owlet was to have been, it wasn’t there. But after a quick scan of the area, I spotted the little fuzzball sitting in a low branch of a redbud tree, just a few feet from the driveway. So I drove past the owl til I reached the next neighbor’s driveway, where I proceeded to turn the truck around. After a quick stop to change lenses (I didn’t think the macro lens on my camera body would be a good fit for the owl in the tree!), I drove slowly back down the hill until I reached the tree. I then pulled off to the shoulder and began photographing the fledgling owlet from the cover of my vehicle. Here are a few images I caught:
As I photographed, he began to “jump” his way up towards the top of the tree … after a couple of minutes, I drove away so he could be by himself. Actually, my neighbor later told us that one of the parents was close by, but I never saw it. This is a Barred Owl (Strix varia) of which we have many around our wooded, rural acreage. In fact, I once walked outside in the early morning hours and counted 7 distinct Barred Owls calling out! I have been hoping to locate one of their nests, but so far I’ve not been able to find one … I guess I’ll just have to keep looking!