Making Progress With Mr. Neil's Barred Owl

Mr. Neil has a few owl species on his property. There is a resident barred owl who occasionally duets with a second bird. This bird has been the cagiest of barred owls that I have ever encountered. Most of the time when I walk through the woods where it roosts, it takes off even if I'm far away. A few weeks ago, I found it just across the creek and for once it didn't move. However, I think it was forced to stay in one spot because a few trees away was a roosting great horned owl and if the great horned found the barred owl, it would have been an ugly fight. You can read about that here.

I figured that the barred owl had finally decided to stay across the creek and went walking through the pines where it normally roosts. While exploring the pines and checking out a large stick nest, I had that feeling I was being watched. I turned to my left and there was the barred owl roosting. This was the closest it had ever allowed me to come. Typically, it would have flown off. I didn't have my scope and snapped the above photo with just my camera. I looked behind me and noticed up on the hill was Mr. Neil's writing gazebo. It has a deck and I thought that if I went there, I could get a better view of the barred owl--maybe even be eye level with it. I took note of the base of the tree that the barred owl was roosting on and went back the way I came on the trail and took the long way back to the yard and gazebo so as not to get any closer.

I set the scope on the deck of the gazebo and aimed it towards the owl. Can you see it? It's right there in the tangle of trees. Don't worry, I can't see it either. Here it is through the scope:

There it is roosting in the pines. It stayed all day and later, at around 4pm while I was digiscoping the robins and waxwings, I could hear it call from the pines. This is excellent progress--I think the owl is finally learning that the people who come through that part of the woods for the most part ignore it or just watch it a bit from time to time and leave it alone. Incidentally, this is the same deck and gazebo where I recorded the pair of barred owls hooting a duet.