Thursday, January 13, 2005

Bird of Prey

We live in the upper reaches of one of the Sound’s smaller watersheds, in an area notable for having an unusual array of animals for a suburb of New York City. While we’ve had our share of development, we also have enough big parks and preserves, water protection land, and large privately-owned holdings to allow animals that require unfragmented habitat to thrive. Our neighborhood has river otters, bobcats, red-shouldered hawks, wood turtles and box turtles, marbled salamanders, worm-eating warblers, and barred owls.

We hear barred owls on and off throughout the year, and occasionally they hoot so persistently that we barely notice. A few months ago, in September, two or three barred owls moved onto our hillside and barked and growled and hooted at each other literally every night for a month.

Owl impression in the snow

This morning, when I drew back the curtains, I noticed the splayed outline that a bird of prey had made in the snow as it dropped from a white oak to nail an animal. A barred owl? I don’t know. It left no blood or feathers or bones. Owl or hawk, it made a beautiful, feathery pattern that should serve as a warning to whatever creatures are passing near the bird feeder.


Blogger Jason Hartley said...

That is a great picture.

1:11 PM  

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