Sunday, June 8, 2014

What Am I?

On my Friday hike through White Oak Canyon, a large bird swooped along Cedar Run.  What I initially thought it was, I was wrong about, as I saw when it eventually landed on a branch over the stream.  I have heard these calling many times, including on my last backpacking trip, but I am not sure if I ever saw one before.  See if you can guess....

You think of me as bird of night
Patrolling when the sun's not bright

But sometimes when its broad daylight,
Think you will see me, you just might

Plumage of brown with streaks of white
I think that I'm a handsome sight

Whether or not you think I'm cute
I really just don't give a hoot

Keep your veggies and keep your fruit
It's mice and such I'm in pursuit

Mice and rats may tremble with fear
If they hear me, and know I'm near

Did all these clues my name reveal?
This final one should seal the deal:

At dusk and dawn, you'll hear my call:
"Who cooks for you?  Who cooks for you-all?"

Got a clue?
Give a hoot?
Is the answer
barred from
your mind?
and all
will be

The proper guess this time?  Barred owl -
If you guessed right, shout, hoot, and howl!

My first thought as the large bird swooped by from behind, flying down the stream, was that it a hawk.  But it seemed too large and wide for a forest hawk.  Fortunately, it landed on a branch.  As I approached, it dove for the stream, like it was hunting, and at that point, I could see that it was a barred owl.  It flew back to the branch, then took off down the stream.  I followed and got a photo.  Then it took off again.
I thought that was my last sighting, but it landed, somewhere in the dense woods above the stream ahead of me, and in a moment, I found the owl again.  This time, it stayed on the branch, just 15-20 feet from me, for a good 10 minutes.  Most of the time, it was turned away, but now and then, it turned its head, owl fashion, towards me.
I didn't know that this type of owl was so active in daylight - it was past 10AM.  It was amazing to see one so close, and it is something that I will remember for a long time.  Eventually, the owl flew as silently as a wraith down the stream one last time, and I didn't see it again.


  1. Really cool to get a shot of the owl and yes I guessed. You gave easy clues. : )
    I used to see them once in a while in my old neighborhood along the wooded paths.

  2. This owl was very accomodating and stayed near me for such a good long time. I really enjoyed seeing it, and I'm glad you nailed it!