Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Wildlife Wednesday November 2015

It's Wildlife Wednesday and time to share wildlife photos from the garden.  For the past few Wildlife Wednesday posts I've posted photos of a Barred Owl which had become a regular visitor to my garden.  During October the owl continued to visit the water dishes we placed on the rail for birds.

Oh so fun to watch!

Then we began to get concerned.  After my last post my husband reported that the owl had begun closely following his outside activities by perching in the trees above him and actually moving its body around to follow his movements (not just the head).  Not too long after that we heard the sound of the owl repeatedly hitting the windows across the back of the house.  When I posted the video of it flying into the back door I had assumed that it was an accident due to the reflection of trees in the glass and the appearance of possible openings to fly through.  But the repeated attacking of the windows indicated that the owl was attempting to dispatch a rival (its own reflection).  So intense was this rivalry that immediate action was necessary to protect both owl and windows.

Yes, seriously.

Even with all this stuff, it tried a couple more times to get to the windows before giving up.  But the owl is wise and simply moved upstairs to the balcony railing and flew against that window!

Hooooo you lookin' at, buster?  You lookin' at me?  You lookin' at me?

Later in the week we installed screens on the windows which did the trick.  Also, while taking some of the photos in this post I had the uneasy sense that I was being studied a little too closely.

Not good, as there are recent news stories about Barred Owls aggressively stealing hats from joggers in Oregon.  And so we made the tough decision that we would no longer go outside when the owl was present.  No more ooohing and aaahing standing outside taking photos.  Let the owl remain wild, it's for the best on both our accounts.

Once we decided to ignore it, the owl has not reappeared.  But we did enjoy the visits while they lasted.

For more stories of wildlife in the garden visit Tina at "My gardener says...."


  1. Gosh, such interesting owl behavior! Sounds like you were pretty busy trying to solve the window-bashing predicament! I'm glad the owl is OK--it sure is a beauty!

  2. It's hard to imagine that an owl would steal hats! Or even come so close to you and your home. I am genuinely shocked that they become aggressive to humans. How wise you were to leave the owl as you did. Sad though too. What a fascinating post.

  3. Well I'll be! I had no idea owls (like some crows) have been getting a little too up close and personal with the people who admire them (or simply jog by unawares!). I applaud your attempts to protect this owl from its own instincts gone a bit awry. It would be sad beyond measure to have such a fine creature meet an untimely demise due to mirror rivalry. And it is sad but true that it seems best for there to be a space maintained between this particularly attached owl and your family. Relationships get so complicated!

    In the past I watched as a male cardinal tried to peck itself out of and away from a car's door mounted rear view mirror. It seemed comical until I realized the bird wasn't being playful - it was quite agitated. I'm not sure what other activities were ignored while the battle with the phantom bird played out but it did not seem to be helpful to the bird. My neighbor agreed to leave a cap over the mirror while the vehicle was parked and that seemed to do the trick. Sometimes a bird needs good neighbors!

  4.!! You're very wise to have ceased your watching the owl, so that he could move on--for your protection and even more so, his. As responsible wildlife gardeners, we tread a tricky path, both encouraging wildlife and also, keeping them safe. Thanks so much for your participation this month and every month--you're an excellent role model for wildlife gardeners everywhere!

  5. He's such a handsome fellow and I understand your interest in him - I'd be taking every photo I could too. I didn't realize they could develop unhealthy attachments to their paparazzi. You went above and beyond to protect him from himself.

  6. Shirley, what a fascinating post and what interesting behaviour by your stunning Barred Owl. Often we can only watch but you have experienced a real interaction and both you and the Owl remained respectful.

  7. Wow Shirley that is amazing. We have had a robin for 2 years now that continues to fly at and peck our porch windows to dispatch others from being in her nesting area....we tried putting up obstacles and covered the windows with paper on the outside and inside and she still did it...she eventually failed nesting nearby due to the distractions and moved on to a neighbors...but she stopped by to peck at her rival in the window from time to time.


  8. What a cute owl and an great story. I bet you'll miss his antics. I've found that simply not washing my windows for the 18 years we've lived in our house has really cut down on the reflection of the glass. It's not that I'm lazy, mind you, this is done to protect the birds of course.

  9. It must have been difficult to stop going outside to see the owl and take pictures, but it sounds like you made the right decision. What a persistent creature, and yes, that black-eyed gaze is intimidating.


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