Just to kick off the big Superb Owl event today, here, via About.com’s birding section, are five astonishing facts about owls:
1) Owls have binocular vision, the better to see and eat you, little mole.
2) Only 19 owl species are found in North America, but there are 150+ worldwide.
3) Owls are found on every continent except Antarctica.
4) Some owls have asymmetrical ears — the same owl might have a large and a small ear located at different places on its head, the better to hear and eat you, wee vole.
5) Owls have three eyelids — one for blinking, one for sleeping and a third to keep the eye clean.
Owls. Goddamn, they’re weird.
I love owls.
Betty, Betty, I’m not sure it’s really the place for nearly hairless bipeds to point and laugh about weirdness.
The Ancient Randonneur
Do they have under inflated balls to fly better during inclement weather?
Jim, Foolish Literalist
I love owls. Only ever seen one (wild) in my life, as I was driving west on a Kansas state highway while the sun came up on a misty morning, perched on a fencepost with no idea how cool s/he looked. I think somebody in New England posted the other day they’ve been seen snowy owls? I would’ve thought they lived much farther north.
They have amazing sound localization, based on the timing of sounds from one ear to the other they can detect nearly exactly where a sound came from (in the horizontal plane), thanks to an amazing set of midbrain structures (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3102523/). And those different ears are used to detect sound level differences for localization in the vertical plane. Cool birds…
A bit tougher than your average supermarket chicken though. You have to be careful about how you cook them. Braising is a good bet.
Man I love this place.
I love owls too. We’ve got one nearby that occasionally occupies an oak tree in our yard, and if I hear it hooting, I will turn off all devices and listen until it goes away. We have friends who live on Marco Island, which has lots of little burrowing owls. If you walk by their burrow, they’ll hiss at you like they’re ready to kick your ass despite their being the size of a beer can.
Howard Beale IV
James Fallows did a blog post on how the owl swoops in and captures its prey-at 1500 frames a second. tres kewl.
My old house backed up to a hill that was wooded and great horned owls would perch out back. There were two fledglings that enjoyed looking in the windows. I didn’t realize that the adults were nearby, until I took the dog out. Yup, they are quite large. A neighbor lost her cat, and swore it was the owls who took it.
Owls are awesome. And I’ve seen two napping (one a little screech owl, the other probably a barred, but not sure), both in Boston (Arnold Arboretum and Millenium Park), but none out where I live, although I can hear three different kinds here at night: screech, great horned, and barred..
Also, 2 days ago our feeder got buzzed by a Cooper’s Hawk looking for lunch–it then swooped across the deck at about 4 ft high, no more than 2 ft from the sliding glass doors, on his way to a pine branch to scowl at all the birds who so successfully scattered.
@BruceFromOhio: (me too.)
Thank you, Betty!
@Mike J: Where?
Screech owls are very hard to see, even when you’re looking at one
Look in on the Decorah Eagles webcam at the right moment,
and you might see Great Horned owls challenging Bald Eagles
for ownership of a nest the eagles built:
Great Horned owls nesting in a box on an OKC balcony :
Barn owl nest cam, San Marcos CA
ETA: Sorry, I was fooled by a recording. This one’s no longer live.
Had two juvenile barred owls hanging out in my front yard last year. Both the size of baseballs, curious and adorable.
Saw one of the adults taking off from an oak tree at dusk. No sound at all. Creepy/awesome.
Has anyone had any experience / luck building an owl box?
Hiking with a friend through Discovery Park a few years ago. Most of it is abandoned military base, surrounded by wooded fields.
We’re passing some trees, and Bob says (very quietly) “look to your right.” I look and there, in the fork of a tree, maybe a foot above my head, is a gorgeous big brown-grey owl. Almost totally blended in with the bark of the tree.
Also, a couple years ago, I was in the Nisqually Delta Reserve. The Visitor Center said there was an owl nest at such-and-such a tree, right by such-and-such a walking trail. The adults were well-concealed, but two nestlings were out and on the ground.
“Owls are cats with wings.” So cool.
I hear owls much more than I see them. Hoot!
Somebody last night had just read Salem’s Lot and I forgot to mention, the Kindle edition includes scenes that were deleted, either because they made the book too long or because the editor didn’t like them. One of those scenes explains what happened with all those rats who were not only not fired in Act III but disappeared from the mantle altogether; King has explained the editor thought that scene was too disgusting. Today I imagine it would sail right through.
Ocean City, WA
I have a friend who does a terrific barred owl call. He was so convincing he got one to come over and check us out at a campsite once.
Who solved the mystery of how many licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie roll pop?
That’s right: an owl.
About 35 years ago my cats (apparently) brought a stunned (I think screech) owl into the house, but once they got it inside, they didn’t know what to do with it, so they gave it wide berth. I picked it up with a towel and put it in the bathroom to keep it safe, and the next morning took it to a wildlife rehab person. I really wanted to keep it, but that’s illegal here. Adorable little owl.
Per internet videos, some captive owls appear to be quite affectionate.
Anyone ever see a snowy owl? Very cool.
I have see two in north central Ohio. Both in the same tree but years apart.
This big dude was in our yard all day a couple of years back.
Other birds in the area engaged in “mobbing behavior” and attacked the owl for hours. The owl would just sit and take it and you can see the damage the attacks did to the back of his (or her) head.
I know this was from using the flash but still. . . chasin down a hooddoo there..
I saw a beautiful specimen of an owl high up in one of the trees in my backyard a few weeks back. I’m amazed I saw it at all in the dark; it was perched perfectly still about 100 feet away and up.
I just had scrambled eggs. What do you like with your scrambled eggs? I like cheese and spinach.
Tried scrambling owl eggs, but they’re so darn small and it’s a little weird when your plate starts hooting at you…
Interestingly, FYAutocorrect seems entirely innocent of the existence of owls; it keeps wanting to change “hoot” to “boot.”
@Callisto: That was was such and oddity for us, this one stayed in the open all day. Here’s a bjuejay attacking.
When the Great Horned owls call on winter nights
one can hoot at them, and they’ll hoot back.
(Chickadees in spring and summer will answer someone who can imitate their two-note whistle).
Weird and wonderful they are. Strangely, although I search high and low for them, I have never once seen one on my own continent. The first one I ever saw was in the Amazon and the rest have all been other places in the world. To me, North American owls are like cryptids.
“2) Only 19 owl species are found in North America, but there are 150+ worldwide.”
That’s just the US/Canada part of N Am. — there are about another dozen in the southern part of N Am (Mexico). So around 30 species for the continent as a whole.
For Betty: we were so pleased at how the kitchen turned out that we’ve become ridiculously self-confident and taken a sledgehammer to the master bath. The fuck is wrong with us?
Where can you find the burrowing owls on Marco?
My parents winter there and would love to check them out.
Thanks in advance.
Big windows are a hazard to hawks. A few years ago our bird feeder was attracting a lot of pigeons and doves. And those attracted Cooper’s hawks. I got a lot of great photos from inside the house. One day I came home to find a nearly grown Cooper’s hawk dead outside our 30′ sliding doors, and a big dust spot on the glass where it hit. Must have been chasing a pigeon and barreled into the glass. It was really sad when we buried it in the yard. Now we keep things hanging in front of the glass to deter fliers. Our feeding system has changed so we attract few pigeons. We still get the small birds and only have to look out for the neighbors’ cats looking to kill something feathery.
You forgot to mention
6) Owls operate a well-known letter-and-parcel courier service in Britain. There’s been a whole series of movies about it.
A few years ago I saw a big owl late one night in the Cherrydale neighborhood of Arlington. I took Dick Cheney*, bro’ man’s superannuated Italian greyhound, out for a walk, and the owl was sitting on the top of a telephone pole on a dark section of the street. He tracked us with a look that said, “Nice little pooch you’ve got there. Shame if anything happened to it.” Dick Cheney went about his business but kept looking over his shoulder. “I can’t shake the feeling something’s watching me!”
* Not his real name, but as he got old and infirm he acquired the nickname because when he was startled out of sleep he would give a little grunt/snarl exactly like Jon Stewart doing the Joker doing Dick Cheney. Now he’s the late Dick Cheney, alas. He had a good, long run but succumbed to old age last spring.
ETA: Never thought I’d ever use the phrase “the late Dick Cheney, alas,” but, hey, context is everything.
I am now reminded of often seeing crows attacking a great horned owl when I lived in the country in Ohio. Supposedly they are bitter enemies.
Why I have no idea.
The owl is a quadruped which lives in the big rivers like the Amazon. It has two ears, a heart, a forehead, and a beak for eating honey. But it is provided with fins for swimming.
@Amir Khalid: Well done. But don’t mention the supporting actress!
@shortstop: I know that feeling, and the master bath is the very spot where I am most anxious to bring down the hammer too. Our house was built in the 70s, and there’s a stupid / badly designed / ugly counter that I’m just itching to obliterate. So far the mister has kept me from going on a demolition bender, but it’s only a matter of time! Best of luck with your latest project.
Owl story: years ago a friend was driving in northern MI at night on a back road. Suddenly a HUGE owl appeared and hit the windshield. The windshield was demolished but the bird was nowhere to be found. While he was calling a tow truck (couldn’t see out of the shattered windshield to drive), there came a great flapping commotion from the back seat. The owl had passed over the top edge of the deformed windshield and landed in the car, out cold. They let it out and it flapped groggily off.
Apparently this happens from time to time with turkeys as well.
Villago Delenda Est
Vernon Dudley does not like owls.
Yet another strike against him.
@jharp: Pretty much any vacant lot. Just look for yellow caution tape — it’s to keep people away from the burrows.
The owls are not what they seem.
Iowa Old Lady
@Ultraviolet Thunder: That would scare the crap out of me twice.
That is so strange. I just tried a test message using her name. The comment simply disappeared into the ether (as opposed to getting a moderation message).
I hear an owl in my neighborhood almost every evening I am outside. I saw it flying across the street one day totally by accident. It was, as advertized, totally silent. I wish I could see him more often but it is incredibly hard to find one. So cool.
I assume this is part of the BJ Superb Owl pre-lame show?
I only saw an owl in the wild once. It flew a few feet over my head from behind. It was COMPLETELY silent – I had no idea it was there until it passed. If I’d been a mouse – I’d have been dinner. It was pretty big too, and gave me quite a start.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@Ultraviolet Thunder: sounds like the opening scene of Birdmageddon, a Scyfy channel original starring TV’s Bruce Boxleitner and Oscar nominee Sharon Stone
@Betty Cracker: I remember this feeling of simultaneous exultation (“Finally!”) and horror (“No turning back!”) from the day after we demolished the kitchen. I keep reminding myself it gets better. There’s a reason this condo was so damn cheap; that reason is it hadn’t been updated in fitty years. Unfortunately, almost all the cool retro stuff was too battered to save.
@Ultraviolet Thunder: You mean the owl didn’t say ‘Home, Jeeves”
How owls can fly silently: http://animals.howstuffworks.com/birds/owl-fly-silently1.htm.
I always thought that invisibility would be a pretty crappy superpower if the ability to move silently weren’t also part of the deal. Achievement unlocked by owls.
OT predator note; yesterday a large coyote was reported to have run in front of a car on our street. This is a densely populated suburb far from any undeveloped areas. It’s the 3rd coyote sighting since summer. It’s possible that they’re denning on the grounds of the Detroit Zoo or the adjacent golf course, which are 1/2mi away.
The weather’s been bad so they’re probably on the move for food. Small dogs beware.
@Pogonip: What do owls taste like?
@Amir Khalid: or Emma Thompson, Dame Maggie, etc. I considered referring to EW as lead actress, but I note the Academy won’t gemerally do that unless the lady is THE protagonist. :(
The local municipality has an owl box program as part of the IPM plan. Many businesses put up boxes. I’ve seen the boxes. Keep missing the owls though.
@Ultraviolet Thunder: We have coyotes denning at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago; in fact, more than 300 radio-collared coyotes (plus many hundreds more who aren’t collared) are going about their business across the city. They’re amazingly adaptable animals who’ll eat small mammals and scavenge garbage. We’ve run into a few on early-morning walks with the dog. The mutual eye contact between the canids is entertaining.
Ask that Johnny Wurster kid.
Walking my Greyhound off leash in open space one evening at sunset. He flushed a rabbit and was at full chase when a Great Horned Owl swooped down on him and tried to attack him. Seems that was the Owl’s rabbit and he was not amused.
Never heard a sound, he was completely silent, like a glider with down.
@raven: Your pictures are amazing.
About 10 years ago, we were at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Leaving in the dark, driving that winding 2-lane road back up to our campground in Utah. We saw easily over 100 deer, at every bend & turn they were around. Our city kids were just stunned.
Then, we came around another bend, and illuminated by our headlights, saw a horned owl just in the final seconds of it’s swoop onto a rabbit. It was surreal – dive, snatch – turned its head just a millisecond towards us; then we were past it. We didn’t want to stop & completely freak it out; it wasn’t going to pose for pictures or anything, but we all still talk about it as one of the flat-out coolest drives we’ve ever taken.
Growing up in Nebraska, we’d see snowy owls occasionally in the winter. Usually perched on an electret pole or on a dead tree. Beautiful big birds. Think they migrate south from the Arctic.
Love love love hearing everyone’s wildlife stories. The best part of living on this earth.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist: I would totally watch that.
I lived in the redwoods for a time and loved listening to owl pairs calling to each other in the dead of night. Occasionally if we were up late and out on the deck we might see one sail overhead silently (their feathers are evolved to dampen sound…the better to stealthily rain death from above, tiny rodent…)
@cckids: Yea, this owl would rotate his head on his shoulders and give me a look that was pretty intense!
I love owls. We often get a chance to see them close up when the wildlife rehabilitators visit our local natural history museum.
One was only the size of my palm. Adorable! He didn’t even look real.
The Pumageddon will not be televised:
@Betty Cracker: There is a barred owl attacking people in a Seattle park. They get a bit territorial during mating season, according to the experts.
This is a couple of years old, but you can see what they look like.
@raven: Robins mobbed my “barn cat,” apparently out of bigotry toward cats as a species because that cat killed only what she’d eat, juvenile rabbits and mice, not chipmunks or birds (ick, feathers!). I saw marks on her shoulders and didn’t know what they came from until I saw 3 dead robins on the deck. Which I had to clean up because she’d have nothing to do with them.
I hear owls almost every night—the lot is surrounded by evergreens—but I almost never see any.
@opiejeanne: You can see how big their claws are in the picture I posted where it is sitting on the post. bad mamajama!
@TaMara (BHF): When I took the dog out, near two fledglings, I didn’t hear any noise but the shadows caused by their wingspans, was enough for me to leave. They are pretty big.
There’s a small owl that I see once and awhile where I live now but you can hear the barn owls in a distance.
@Mike J: thus the expression “tougher than an old, boiled owl”.
I’ve heard owls in my neighborhood after dark, but I’ve never seen one.
Got home last night just before sunset after being gone to the SF Peninsula for a few days and heard the hoot of a pygmy owl (single toots) and it made me so happy. Back safe to the country! The traffic in Palo Alto is now completely insane. OTOH, I can’t keep a Siamese cat at this house to save my life. Our tuxedos, the black cat and the tabby are fine, but none of the Siamese I have tried over the last 4 years (since we moved in) lasted longer than a year. At first I thought it was a coyote, but have decided since the color (and not smell) is making the difference in life-expectancy for cats outside at night (their choice – we have a cat door), it must be a visual hunter, and hence, an owl. I’d guess a Great Horned Owl. I occasionally will briefly see an owl when driving down our canyon after dark (fly across the road), and yes, completely silent Mostly I hear Northern Pygmy and Western Screech owls.
I haven’t been in the woods very often, but I’ve lived in a development overrun by waterfowl. It was amazing to hear ducks’ wings as they flew overhead. It sounded electronic and was surprisingly loud.
1. owls are mammals.
2. owls fight ALL the time.
3. the purpose of the owl is to flip out and kill people.
Moar owls! Less Bushes!
I saw this bird on the same trip where I saw this bird.
(The second was at Cape Disappointment.)
The father of the birth control pill passed away.
All this and so far no mention of the species variant “Deficit Owl” ?
“Stephanie Kelton, a self-described “deficit owl” and a leading proponent of the alternative economics theory known as modern monetary theory, announced that she would be the chief economist for the minority on the Budget Committee Friday.”
Aren’t there any owls patrolling in big cities, looking for rats, mice, etc? I see owls several times a year, and have seen more than one in the arguable space of downtown Houston.
I’d probably be able to see a few more if I didn’t have to be on constant alert for every other gods damned texting driver on the highway all around me.
If you’re referring to Emma Wat S0n, her last name is on the verbotten FYWP list, for whatever reason. *POOF*!
@Pogonip: Are you feeling a bit better today?
No, Emma with the same last name as Sherlock Holmes’ physician friend and amanuensis.
Within the last couple years, for several weeks you could possibly see an owl sitting on a lightpost heading home from a local grocery store. It wasn’t always there, but on a certain schedule towards evening s/he’d be there patiently waiting a few days a week. In between a small neighborhood and amidst some not as yet developed acreage.
Owls prey on nestling crows.
Crows would prey on owl nestlings or eggs if they could survive the attempt;
crows and ravens do prey on tree-living songbird nestlings and eggs.
And so songbirds mob single crows (and hawks!)
and so crows mob exposed owls.
Wil the Republicans’ war on women never cease?
Saw some burrowing owls at the roadside next to their burrows on the south side of the the Salton Sea (CA) some time in the early/mid1990s. They would watch you, unlike owls of other species seen during daytime (in my limited experience). The linked article says that efforts to encourage their nesting have been made.
Seattlite pro tip: since Skittles are hard to come by in groceries, try going to your local Walgreens. They have an aisle of Valentine’s Day stuff. One thing on that aisle is a pack of cards large enough to give one to every member of your elementary school class. Some of these packs include small bags of Skittles to go with each card.
amazing to hear ducks’ wings
Every species different, too — the wing-whistle of mallards is very different from that of pintails (although they’re closely related enough to occasionally interbreed) and other species are even more distinctive.
Around here Mockingbirds are real assholes to crows, hawks and squirrels. With good reason, I am sure.
Amazingly agile in their harassment.
But since when does FYWP not even give the courtesy of a message announcing “Your comment is in moderation”? Or is [email protected]š°ñ more terrible even than çîä£į$, pëñí$, or ß0°kΣr?
Love owls. One time a few years ago I went out to put the bbq grill on and three little owlets were sitting on the electric wire just over the fence. Adorable. In the winter when the leaves are gone from the trees you can see the silhouettes of owls near the tops of the trees at dusk as they prepare to hunt at night.
So many rats in my area, we can’t have too many owls.
@SiubhanDuinne: Ours not to reason why, ours but to exclaim F. Y.
@shortstop: We feel like we should do the same with our master bathroom. Our kitchen turned out so beautiful, but then we did have to hire a contractor and designer because the addition was really over our heads, so there’s that. The bathrooms just need work, and the master a slight reconfiguration that any plumber should be able to handle.
I feel like we could demo the ugly floor tile by ourselves, but after that we will need some big muscle-y people to remove the icky Jacuzzi tub that seems to breed seaweed no matter how often we clean out the lines. They tell me that this is just because this particular model never drained correctly, etc, but I will never have one again. I might put in a hot tub outside, because that would be cool, but I don’t want one indoors.
A pair of great horned owls raised two young 100 feet from my house (maybe 10 years ago), in a group of old weeping willow trees. We didn’t know they were there for a while though there were weird noises at night (NOT normal owl sounds), which were probably the youngsters excitedly chowing down food. Spotted a youngster by accident, then eventually found the whole family, all 4 of which perched motionlessly all day. Crows found and mobbed the adults a few times but the adults did not fight back.
Our cat, a feisty bunny killer/eater who went outdoors, suffered a head injury during this time, we guess from an encounter with an owl. (An abscess formed, that needed to be drained.)
I was reading a memoir of an old Quaker lady from these parts (Pennsylvania) who recalled that when she was a child, the older kids would go into the woods and collect baby owls. They were, of course, asleep during the day, and could be used as dolls. They’d set up tea parties, play school, etc. with groggy little owlets.
I THINK they returned them safely afterward, but with kids you never know.
Seems like it would be easier for it to divebomb birds and rodents than to handle money and carry bags. But some raptors do love a challenge.
Kevin Drum has an interesting post up: Blogging Isn’t Dead. But Old-School Blogging Is Definitely Dying.
I don’t see Twitter as being that “conversational.” I think blogs still beat that. But some blogreading is for those who were raised on print, and on magazine articles, and prefer a longer read, with nuance.
I don’t think that will go away.
Slightly OT: Andrew Sullivan’s paywall is down, while he and his crew decide what to do next. Live it up.
I’ve been told that great horned owls like to eat brains. Specifically, that they sometimes kill roosting grows at night and eat their heads. Don’t know if this is a myth or not.
I think it hit the wrong vic and got the cuffs slapped on it.
@Bill Arnold: ooh.. poor kitty. It doesn’t surprise me though because they are very attentive parents.
Not a myth. In feast (as opposed to famine) conditions, they sometimes eat only brain.
Here in semi-rural Southern Maryland, we have owls in the backyard and bald eagles in the neighborhood. I was driving to work the other day, and a big vulture took off from the middle of the road in front of me. Not until it was in flight did I see the white head and tail.
There are three or four nesting pairs that hang around the local dump pretty regularly.
Howard Beale IV
@different-church-lady: Bigger than frogs, too I take it.
Villago Delenda Est
@Corner Stone: As Amir pointed out yesterday, just google elevator gate as one word and you will be enlighted as to why that name makes FYWP go nuts.
Villago Delenda Est
@Elizabelle: I personally prefer longer form, simply because 140 words isn’t enough to explain reality to some fuckhead teatard or glibertarian.
Which is why I get so tumbrel-ly all the time. I have a very low tolerance for that variety of stupid.
Villago Delenda Est
Rethuglicans have little to fear from Great Horned Owls, then.
Democrats, however, need to be vigilant.
@Elizabelle: If he were right, I would not have had to double my bandwidth bill just a couple of months ago. (Donations gratefully accepted.) But, I did have to jump to a more professional hosting company.
However, I’m in a niche market with not a lot of competition; I’m in a cat behaviorist niche, not “here’s the Scarlett O’Hara costume I made for my cat.” And I have been asked to join a pet website as a contributor, so he might have a point.
I will be the first cat blogger in Estonia!
@Villago Delenda Est:
Actually, that was pointed out to me.
Iowa Old Lady
@Villago Delenda Est: I like following news on twitter. For me, it’s not a good place for building community or friendships because it rewards quick one liners.
I’ve seen a large barred owl many times in a large tree between my neighbor’s house and mine. The tree sits on a hill and gives the owl a nice place to survey the area.
Moderation to left of them! Moderation to right of them!
For those who need a reason to cheer for the teams today, Seattle Art Museum and Clark Art Institute have a wager on the outcome.
Not to be left out the Museum of Fine Arts is updating their twitter feed today with new works.
There’s also a hashtag museumbowl.
@MomSense: Have you informed the pup about the imminent snow storm, yet?
Here on Cape Cod we hear great horned owls, screech owls, and saw-whet owls calling at night. They are here year round and breed here.
The snowy owls we see on beaches in winter nest up north, on open tundra, and move south into northern USA when food becomes scarce up north. Short-eared owls, long-eared owls, and barred owls are less common winter birds, although short-eared used to breed here.
I worked for many years at Jamaice Bay Wildlife Refure in NYC, and we had many barn owls living in the nest boxes we erected. From the pellets we found they ate mostly Norway rats, meadow voles, and house mice. Barn Owls are fairly adaptable to urban areas, but need an undistrubed place to nest and roost, and generally open, grassy habitats used by small mammals for hunting.
@Villago Delenda Est: I can only say that I am thankful to not have known about that scandal until just now.
Personally, I am unable to imagine a scenario where I chat up a not known to me person while in an elevator, much less ever ask them to join me in my room.
@BGinCHI: Nah, that jerk cheated, he bit after the second lick and called it three…
Now I feel old.
Owl fact: They have to hork quite often to get rid of the bones and fur they can’t digest.
I would argue that the actual answer according to his scientific experiments is really two licks.
In random shit that makes me pray for a giant meteor:
I stumbled across this reading Jezabel and it is just so silly I had to share. BTW – the first comment is a winner/
Owls kick ass.
@Mike J: Here’s one from a week or so ago: SCREECH! Asleep-ish!
(It’s the Arboretum’s publicly accessible FB page)
@jharp: Here in far northern New York State, the Snowy Owls are kind of winter’s robins. They’re diurnal so you can watch them doing their owl things pretty easily.
She’s a total snow hound only she can sort of walk on the snow while we crash through. I have to drag her back in the house when she is obviously cold and shivering or she would just stay out and play.
Had to rake the roof to prepare for the next storm. I don’t know where we are going to put all this snow.
Teaching That Man a thing or two.
Don’t know about downtown, but we have quite a few in the houston heights.
Oddly enough, our rat problem seems less urgent the last couple years.
As do Chris Pratt and Chris Evans.
Star Lord Vs Captain America
Could not agree more.
Equally incredible is “Bottlegate”:
The reporting is by Amir Oren at Haaretz.
Yeah, this was the latest gem from Lady Gwyneth of the New Age Weirdness. It would be interesting to meet her one day, even if just to see what on earth is going on in her head.
@Cervantes: Don’t you patronizingly condescend to me, you supercilious Asperger-y mofo!
You took the time to read all that nonsense?
I’m catching the next Greyhound over and bringing you a medal, see if I don’t.
In preparation for Superb Owl viewing (yes, even I watch it), I told my Spawns to clean their rooms. I went to check Spawn the Elder’s room….and found a box of cookies hiding in her closet.
A drink, I needz one. But the beer isn’t cold yet. SHIT.
Just a heads up: email to you is being returned “mailbox is full”. I tried multiple times over a week or more, but I can’t recall whether the last attempt was returned or made it through.
I was just wondering aloud that a lot of the commenters here that live in primarily dense urban areas state they have never seen an owl in flight.
I wonder how that could be?
@Cervantes: I thought it was a Master Class thread, and I thank you.
Did you see the survey reported recently suggesting that Americans eat more while celebrating this football game than they do on Thanksgiving? (I may have mentioned this earlier. It fascinates me strangely.)
The survey was paid for by a “fast-food” corporation.
@Corner Stone: In the rowhouse “Neighborhoods” of Philly, DH and I planted curbside trees. One night, he said he heard owls; I said they must be pigeons.
The next day, I saw a small owl sitting on a tree branch and plucking the feathers of a bird onto the ground. DH was right!
(Those trees were also the source of our first squirrels. Our alleycat didn’t know what to make of them. They looked like rodents (prey) but were in a tree and chattering threateningly.)
Mary Jane cookies? Otherwise…?
@Schlemazel: I heard about that this week, and I was just awestruck by the dumb shit people spend their money on. Steam shot up the vajayjay? Like, WHY? “Balances hormone levels”?!?! Just take Goop outside and shoot her.
@Mike J: That is so sweet!
It was mentioned up-thread that owls fly real quiet-like.
Girl Scout? It’s the season.
@Amir Khalid: And indeed, they do. But please notice that I said “seen” and not looked around for the pterodactyl they hear coming for their babies.
Praise from Caesar.
@GxB: I taught for three years at a bird sanctuary. One of the lessons I used to do with fifth graders was to examine owl pellets and put together skeletons from the bones to see what the owl had been eating. The kids would start out not wanting to touch the pellets since they had been thrown up. By the end of the hour they would be asking for more pellets and wanting to take the bones home with them. I’m sure their moms were thrilled. I like to think that some budding scientists were created during those lessons.
@Callisto: Am I also a bit Asperger-y, in your humble estimate?
I imagine if you put your er next to hers you could hear the ocean. I view my being unaware of this until I read it as a good sign I am not paying attention to pop stupidity.
I liked that she felt if cleaned her uterus! I’d love to see her drawing of what she think her anatomy looks like. a mind is a terrible thing to waste.
Hush. The alternative is too awful to contemplate.
I attended a corporate Superb Owl party once. It was hosted at Disney World by IBM’s Lotus Software division, back in the 1990s when the tech industry had money to burn on flying me in from KL. I remember the food seemed more important than the football to quite a lot of attendees.
No, you’re just an asshole. That’s a different thing entirely.
Audubon? Sounds like fun.
(Not only fun. It was important as science, I agree.)
Everyone is fond of owls.
If you don’t hear them coming, you might not remember that they’re there to watch out for.
@srv: From my twitter:
Three-year-old shot an 8-year-old in the head with a bb gun. http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2015/02/mechanicsburg_8-year-old_injur.html#incart_river … Second 3yo shooter today; watch out for the short ones!
Unless your butt looks like ground beef, in which case the word may be appropriate.
That’s some psychologist humor, there.
@Callisto: Ahhh, I see. Thank you, Dr. Frist. *
*In all honor of The Rise of Jeb
@Cervantes: No, it was a local city owned sanctuary named Quinta Mazatlan. It was small but really impressive. The bird species in deep South Texas are numerous and quite different from other parts of the country (more like Mexico). We were under contract to teach all the 3rd and 5th graders from the McAllen public schools, and it was great fun.
You’re very welcome. It’s always good to know exactly what you are.
@shortstop: There are snowy owls at Montrose harbor. They started hanging out a couple years ago.
General plea to America: more of this please. (and maybe less football.)
@Josie: When one of my sons was in fourth grade, they dissected an owl pellet. He glued the pieces on construction paper and identified it as a vole. It was also in a school in TX.
Thanks for letting me know about such a great program, and for working in it. You inspired me to make a small contribution to their education fund.
@Cervantes: That is great. They operate on a very tight budget and every dollar counts.
@Cervantes: I am not surprised by that. We have a family recipe for a dip that goes with potato chips that is basically 100% fat. We have decided that we get to eat it once a year—for Superb Owl only. Come to think of it, it’s also the only time I eat potato chips. In about half an hour, I get to go pick up the 5 dozen wings that we ordered from our local wings place. So: wings, potato chips, cheese dip, guacamole, beer, and a veggie tray. Nutritious it is not.
Karen in GA
@Schlemazel: The first comment is indeed a thing of beauty.
Out of the corner of my eye one day last summer I saw what I assumed was one of the neighborhood cats, a common sight on our porch. I turned around and was staring into the eyes of a big freakin barn owl . Who just sat there contemplating me from the porch railing.
They seem a lot bigger when you run into them in person.
As I recall, this was in daylight.
 Disclaimer: I don’t actually know my owl species.
@Schlemazel: She’s an insufferable idiot. Usually I can separate the art from the artist and enjoy work made by horrible people, but every time I see her in a movie, I just think about how stuck up she is. In Se7en, I was actually kind of happy her head got cut off. Spoiler alert.
A bad joke for today’s game – Did you hear they cancelled Katy Perry’s halftime performance today? Instead, in honor of the New England Patriots, they will have Air Supply!
@SiubhanDuinne: I remember when all messages responding to Yutsano were eaten and so Yutsano changed nyms to Yatsuno ( or versa visa).
We are up to a foot of snow but I’ve noticed that the media outlets are not covering weather full time outside their immediate area.
Wonder what that tells us….
@Suzanne: She’s seemingly gone off the rails in the last few years. I kind of stopped giving a damn about her after Great Expectations, as weird as that may be. I hated her in that.
She was probably always just an eccentric asshole.
Villago Delenda Est
@Amir Khalid: Oh, I knew you were involved in that somewhere!
@Corner Stone: She’s one of those people who, when they experience something bad, I’m actually happy about it. She produces in me the sort of schadenfreude I usually reserve for GOP shining stars like Eric Cantor.
Villago Delenda Est
@BGinCHI: What is interesting is that there was a bomb threat, or an actual bombing (can’t remember off the top of my head which) in Times Square the same night as the WHCA dinner, and the major media had no time for it. Too busy with their self congratulation that serves as an indictment of every last one of them. They make the “Motion Picture Academy” on Oscar or Golden Globes night look positively demure by comparison.
WTF are chocolate diamonds? This is supposed to be a thing?
@Suzanne: I don’t understand how anybody ever hears enough about her to form an opinion on what she’s like off screen. I may be the last person in the US who actively avoids TMZ et al.
Well, that’s quite a spread!
Enjoy the game.
@BGinCHI: Wind’s beginning to pick up now too — it’s been steady and persistent so far, are we now to the blustery double-zz stage?
I am late to the thread but wanted to lay it down in support for owls, which I love and find amazing… the Great Horned Owl is an incredible raptor and predator who eats everything from porcupines to skunks (and also is an opportunist on other prey). Owls stay with their young a year, during which time they teach them all the tricks of the trade for hunting. Contrast this with the Bald Eagle, which abandons its young right after they fledge and start flying on their own. Bald Eagle young’uns have to learn by trial and error. The ones who are able to survive for 5 years finally get their white heads, the symbol of their sexual maturity and signal that they can bring food and hunt successfully. Amazing!
@scav: I keep checking the SunTimes site and they have these goofy descriptors like “stark” next to the temperature.
Holycrap. Mrs. Thunder and I just shoveled the first 6′ of snow off of the walks and driveway. 40 minutes’ heavy work for 2 people (combined age 110). We’ll have to do it again in the morning when another few inches has fallen. It’s 17 degrees and windy as well.
Predators tend to have binocular vision — depth perception is very important when catching prey. Hence owls, eagles, dogs, cats, and people all have their eyes on the front of their faces, rather than the sides like rabbits, squirrels, deer, and so forth, who need the widest field of view possible to see what’s sneaking up on them. Owls have developed that weird ear arrangement because they hunt at night, and depend on sound even more than vision.
Although it’s not foolproof — I was once sitting in the back yard and out of the corner of my eye saw this squirrel dive under a slab of limestone leaning on the neighbor’s garage. I looked up at a disturbance in a tree, and there was a very put-out looking peregrine falcon sitting there. (Yes, we have peregrines and kestrels in Chicago. Keeps the pigeon population under control. Almost.)
Otherwise, we’ve got our first real snow of the season today and tonight. Up to 12 inches. There are times that I can barely see across the street, it’s coming down so hard and blowing so much.
Seriously, between Syfy’s monster movies and this kitten bowl thingy, I’m glued to the telly until I have to hit the gym.
@Ultraviolet Thunder: A friend gave me some clear/reflective leaf decals to put up, and they seem to have reduced the number of fly-ins–but haven’t ever had anything like a hawk hit them. That would be sad (if not horrifying).
@delk: REALLY? Ima hit the bird refuge there as soon as it’s possible to walk out to the point. Thanks for that tip!
very silly indeed
JR in WV
First saw a Great Horned Owl one morning as I left for work. At the time we lived in a ravine filled with hemlock and spruce trees, and I think the owls liked the heavy cover. This guy was sitting on the chimney of the house across the street, and a murder of crows was mobbed around him.
They would gradually get the courage to dive at him, and he would in turn reach out for a crow, getting as good as he got. After a few more minutes the owl flew into the hemlock at the edge of the lot and disappeared.
Now in rural SW W. Va. we have the good fortune to live below a ridge where Barred Owls live, and we hear them hooting at one another often in the evening. I can hoot in Barred Owl, and they will answer back for a little while, but they know from my terrible accent that I’m not really a Barred owl.
There are so many of them that after each one hoots their normal call, they begin shouting at each other, completely ignoring the calls the books speak of and going into detail on what’s up later that night.
The sounds of a group of Barred Owls really going at it are mysterious indeed!! Sometimes when we drive into the hollow late into the evening, a big owl will fall out of a tree and cruise in front of us up the road, I suppose hoping that critters around the road will run from the car, becoming easy pickings for Mr Owl.
One evening when I was home alone, I heard a glass shattering sound, loudly shattering and breaking glass. I walked all around upstairs and down, looking at all the windows, and they all appeared intact.
Two days later I was coming around the downstairs outside, and found the source of the shattering glass sound. Something had hit a 2’x6′ window and shattered the outer layer of double-pane glass, leaving the inner layer intact. There were no feathers, no blood, just a ton of broken glass on the ground below the window.
At the time I thought it must have been a turkey, we have quite a few of them too. But now – maybe it was a big owl?
I like owls, they are multi-talented birds, and hard to spot in the woods.
And so eerie all the sounds they make!
I want to get a good microphone for the purpose, and digital recorder, and capture the sounds of the Flock of Barred Owls we share the hollow with. So strange a bird.
Someone shot up a nest of hawks in a big boundary tree , killed the nesting pair and presumably did in the fledglings too. Ms Mabel and Mrs J called game enforcement folks, who came out and interviewed neighbors about it – $10,000 per bird fine – if they can find the shooter. Good luck there…
@Jim, Foolish Literalist: They come down in the middle of the winter. Logan Airport in Boston has had problems with them for years. Evidently, the city rats are easy pickings around the runways.
@jharp: I live in South Florida (east coast) and there are burrowing owls in the fields near the ball park. They come out at night to eat the insects that are attracted to the lights. Look near any school/ball park with lights on at night.
Dead thread probably. Re the crow side of the crow-raptor forever war, I’ve long wondered about the stories about Crow Courts. Crows have fascinating social behaviors including vocalizations which seem to be different when they don’t know they’re being observed, but the tales of Crow Courts are disquieting. What are they? (Question is to anybody.)
Now that tale’s a myth. At least, I think it is. The family Corvidae is on the higher end of the animal intelligence scale (high brain/body mass ratio, for example) and crows do have many fascinating social behaviors, but I think this business of courts and execution is a folk tale. When crows do kill other crows — it happens occasionally — I suspect it is an instance of male-male competition gone awry.
Thank you for this answer.