We had a great thunderstorm here in Columbia this
evening. After the rain stopped the sun came out and my wife and I decided to
take a walk around the block to get some exercise before it got dark. The tops
of the thunderheads were glowing salmon and gold as they caught the last rays of
the sun. We saw lots of bats flying around in the early evening. As we
turned a corner we heard a group of very vocal robins in a tree in a neighbors'
yard. We looked up and could not see what they were upset about. It became
evident a few seconds later, however, when a large, shadowy clump of
leaves spread its wings, metamorphosed itself into a Barred Owl
and flew to another tree a few feet away, chased by a dozen upset and very
vocal robins. The Owl started vocalizing back at the robins for a few
minutes, before it flew to another branch. We watched for about 5 minutes as the
drama unfolded, until the Owl flew to a another tree about a block away and the
local robins decided that they had chased the dangerous creature out of their
territory. I tried to spot the owl again, but it had turned itself back into a
clump of leaves, so I did not see it again. It is amazing how a bird as large as
a barred owl can be in a tree 25 feet away and be virtually invisible to
humans unless it moves.
We have been treated to at two barred
owls in our neighborhood for the past couple of months, even though we live
in Central Columbia (between Broadway and Stewart Road near West Blvd if anyone
wants to know). I suspect that they are raising a family in the neighborhood
because they have been in the same area all spring.
It was a short walk. But it was really