I walked around for about forty-five minutes today taking pictures. I wasn’t getting any picture opportunities and I was getting discouraged especially since it was starting to get dark. I ended up back by my dorm, but decided to walk down the side and around back to see if there were any photo ops down there since I don’t go that way very often. The moment I got to the back of the dorm and I was heading down the trail, I saw a big blob in the tree about 15 feet in front of me. The moment I realized it was an owl, it flew off of its perch on the tree branch and onto the ground (I wonder if it found something to eat). As I tried to adjust settings on my camera it flew away. I then noticed a bunch of birds following it around and making a bunch of noise. I saw a crow fly off and caught a glimpse of the brown object as it silently flew away. I would have never found it again if it weren’t for the other birds calling. I followed the crow that was still calling and saw the owl again in the trees about 30 feet away. I shot four pictures. I had to manually focus and I couldn’t see what I was focusing on because it was too dark. I looked at the last one really quick to check settings and when I looked back at the tree the bird was gone. This was the first picture I got of it, all of the others has the owl facing the other way.
If I were to guess, I think this is a barred owl. The funny thing is we just talked about these guys in my class today. Jerry Franklin (famous for the Northern Spotted Owl incident) is my professor and we talked about the Northern Spotted Owl today in class. The Northwest Forest Plan, which came out of the Spotted Owl incident, was a result of the listing of the Northern Spotted Owl as an endangered species. Since the plan was adopted in 1994, the Northern Spotted Owl population has continued to decline. That is due to the introduction of the Barred Owl, a much more aggressive owl that kicks spotted owls out of their habitat, the very small areas of suitable habitat that still remain.
I talked to Jerry a few days later and he said that this is a Barred Owl. I think he then proceeded to tell me to shoot it. Silly Jerry, that would put me in jail. Although, they are seriously considering sending trained biologists out to shoot Barred owls in prime spotted owl territory to try and allow the spotted owls to come back.
This is one of my photos for my 365 project. You can view the rest here: www.365project.org/zimmermangregg/365/2012-01
Day 114 of 365
April 24th, 2012
Univeristy of Washington, Seattle