Trop Wildlife Report: A Horny Owl is Sighted

Great Horned Owl. Photographed 2012 in Ft.. Meyers, Florida. Copyright by Nick Adams, photographer.
Digital file courtesy of the artist.

Sometimes the bird watching in the Park is better than at Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel. One morning we had three large birds feeding at the same time in our backyard on Camelia Drive. They were in the stream (ie drainage ditch).  There was a Great Egret, a Wood Stork and a Great Blue Heron. Yesterday Eileen saw a Piliated Woodpecker  (the Woody Woodpecker type which is large, with a fabulous red head.)

Today we saw a Great White Egret marching down the middle of Avocado Drive. It seemed so confident, as if it were a resident. Well–it is a resident only it doesn’t own a house or a share.  After marching for about 30 yards, it took a left turn toward the lake.

But the most amazing sighting was on Banyan Drive. Eileen and I rode by on our bikes and found some of the locals looking up into some trees. Sandy Pinnicks of Delaware, Ohio, was peering into an impressive telescope. We stopped, and she told us that they were watching a Great Horned Owl with its baby. She let us look, and it was an amazing sight.  This large and magnificent bird  (probably the female) was just sitting there , high in the tree across the street, with its light colored baby next to her.  Across the street, Velva Wade of Indiana was practically dislocating her neck as she stared up into a different tree, trying to photograph another large owl  (probably the male).

Mrs. Pinnicks told us that her son-in-law, Nick Adams, is a professional photographer in Sanibel where he has a studio and where he does weddings, events, etc.  He also does nature photography, and she kindly provided us with a print of the Banyan owl which he photographed recently. Subsequently we contacted him, and he sent us a digital file for the blog.

Link to Nick Adams Photography

These owls are nocturnal, so when they sit up there, quite still, during the day, they are probably sleeping. They eat little animals at night, like mice, and they swallow them in large chunks.  Then they regurgitate “pellets” which biology students like to study to find out what the owls were dining on. People sell the pellets on the Internet.

Dick Krieg told us that he can hear those owls hooting when he goes for a swim to the Lantana/Banyan pool early, when it’s still dark out. It’s like the local version of Hooters.

Here’s a recording of two Great Horned Owls  (not ours) by John Neville: