Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 53

for years to come. We often saw or heard eastern screech-owls and great horned owls, but never the who cooks for you, who cooks for you all of barred owls. After all, great horned owls are major predators on the slightly smaller barred owls. So are raccoons, larger members of the weasel family, and large hawks, all of which live and hunt in our hollow. Still, we do have ideal barred owl habitat — a mature mixed deciduous and coniferous forest on either side of a small stream along our hollow road. The barred owl’s favorite food items — small mammals and birds — are also plentiful, especially chipmunks, deer and white-footed mice, as well as birds up to and including ruffed grouse in size. Knowing all this, I expected to see more barred owls in the hollow. Instead, my absolutely best sighting took place about 20 years ago, in the ice-enshrouded woods of Sapsucker Ridge one January afternoon, well within the more than square mile of territory a barred owl pair needs to survive the winter. Two-inch-long icicles hung from every tree branch and vine that gray, cold, misty day. This time an American crow was the messenger, cawing and flying up from the trees ahead. Scanning the area it had just vacated with my binoculars, I spotted a large, plump figure perched on a tree limb a hundred feet away. I thought it was a great horned owl, because crows had often alerted me to them. Instead, I was surprised by a barred owl — a puffy vision decked out in white, gray and brown feathers, its horizontal barring around its collared neck accounting for its common name. It turned its head back and forth on its swivel neck, then bent and peered
Visit www.pgc.state.pa.us and click the “Education” tab, then “Wildlife Notes” or, just click this link in your digital edition of the November 2011 issue of Game News at penngamenews.com. (Username or Account Number = the alphanumeric code above your name on your hardcopy’s address label.)

down at the ground, no doubt hoping to surprise a mouse. I knelt, one knee in the icy snow, and studied the owl for 10 minutes, admiring its nearly rounded-off, soft-looking head framed with what looked like enormous fur muffs, and its dark brown eyes accentuated by large, oval facial disks. At last it turned its back to me, and I could see some black mixed with brown on its stubby tail before it leaned out and slightly down and launched into silent flight, propelling itself out of my sight. Standing upright at 18 inches, a barred owl weighs a mere 1.5 pounds and its rounded wings stretch 40 inches. Among the owl species in the eastern United States, only great horned owls are larger than barred owls. Once barred owls (Strix varia) resided east of the Great Plains from the boreal forest of Canada to southern Florida, but recently they have expanded into portions of western North America, including the Pacific Northwest, where sometimes they displace and hybridize with the closely related and much rarer spotted owls (Strix occidentalis). They are supposed to prefer large trees in old forests for nesting, and here in Pennsylvania barred owls do inhabit wooded ravines and “nest in highest densities in old-growth forests of the High Plateau,” according to Gerald McWilliams and Daniel Brauning in The Birds of Pennsylvania. But they are also found in forested swamps, wet, mature woodlands, and even in cities and farmlands. Although they are less abundant than great horned owls and eastern screech-owls, they breed in every Pennsylvania county except Philadelphia. Barred owls prefer large trees with cavities for nesting, but will use old hawk, crow

Learn more about Pennsylvania owls in the Game Commission’s Owls Wildlife Note.

NOVEMBER 2011

53


http://www.pgc.state.pa.us http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/document/706644/owls_pdf http://www.penngamenews.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011

Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011
History of the Whitetail
Contents
Beagles, Brushpiles and Growing Up
Public Input and Deer Management
Doodles Along the Delaware
Driving
Room 204
2010-11 Small Game/Furbearer Harvests
Need a Life Jacket?
The Legacy From A to Z
Hunter Access Liability Protection
Thanksgiving Bear
Field Notes
Conservation News
Off the Wire
Another View
The Naturalist’s Eye
Fun Game
Straight from the Bowstring
Lock, Stock & Barrel
Crossings
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - Cover2
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - History of the Whitetail
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - Beagles, Brushpiles and Growing Up
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 4
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 5
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 6
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - Public Input and Deer Management
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 8
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - Doodles Along the Delaware
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 10
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 11
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - Driving
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 13
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 14
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 15
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 16
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 17
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - Room 204
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 19
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 20
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 21
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 2010-11 Small Game/Furbearer Harvests
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 23
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - Need a Life Jacket?
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 25
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - The Legacy From A to Z
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 27
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 28
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 29
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - Hunter Access Liability Protection
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 31
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - Thanksgiving Bear
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 33
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 34
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - Field Notes
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 36
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 37
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 38
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 39
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - Conservation News
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 41
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 42
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 43
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 44
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 45
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 46
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 47
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - Off the Wire
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - Another View
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 50
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 51
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - The Naturalist’s Eye
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 53
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 54
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - Fun Game
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - Straight from the Bowstring
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 57
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 58
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 59
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 60
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - Lock, Stock & Barrel
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 62
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - 63
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - Crossings
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - bb1
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - bb2
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - Cover3
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2011 - Cover4
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