Early this July two adult rabbits and one juvenile were spotted munching on the newly green weeds and grass in our unkept back lawn (better there than in the veggie garden.) They and the deer have found the most lovely plants on our property too good to pass up; but now, we have limited their tasting range with chicken wire and wire fencing. These two rabbits were brave and probably had felt safe by exposing themselves in the large open space unaware they were in plain view of an observing Barred owl in amongst the shrubs.

We discovered shortly the reason for the rabbits’s not being present for their daily juicy green leaf meal in our backyard: The Barred Owl had been spotted in our neighborhood by our near neighbors, and myself. My first spotting of the large visitor was when I was walking toward my husband to get his attention during his mowing the lawn near some rhododendron bushes. The disturbance of the loud motor and our approaching closer to where the owl was hidden under the Rhododendron bush with its prey, caused it to take flight. The owl carrying the large heavy rabbit, even with its strong large wings, was not able to get strong lift so flew about one and half feet above the ground with the rabbit’s feet dragging across the lawn.

I watched the owl quietly aim for the brush and trees on our property where it disappeared and probably made a safe landing with its prey, to enjoy and share a meal from nature with its offspring.

Another event I experienced with the Barred owl was a couple of days later as I was silently standing near the bird feeder observing their behavior and lovely markings. The feeder is near a group of large garden plants with space under the branches where birds and rabbits freely roam for seeds, weeds and grub. Suddenly, with a loud ruckus, the Barred owl flew out from beneath the large Rhododendron branches spreading its large wings as it took flight around the corner of the house toward safety.

The owl had obviously been observing and monitoring the rabbit and bird activity in that spot so quietly without being noticed flew there for an easy catch of prey, except I interrupted its plan.

These sketches were drawn from my memory, a fun exercise for my journal.

3 thoughts on “The Barred Owl waiting for Prey

  1. I read that Barred will catch their prey while on the ground, and that they are not rated high on bird intelligence….?. When the rabbits feel threatened, we have seen them scurry for cover under the overhanging branches of large bushes. The owl hangs out not completely deep under the branches close to the trunk but just enough room for a quick flee.

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