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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Wildlife in Winter Program takes a turn ...

Saturday marked part II of the Wildlife in Winter Series at Bucktoe Creek Preserve. The program focused on animals that stay active during the winter months and how they survive the elements. Within the spruce forest, we spotted activity by the Red Squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus). Middens are piles of bare pine cones that accumulate on the ground below a spruce tree due to the red squirrel foraging for seeds.

Tim Zador discovering midden
Midden Pile

One special event in particular occurred on the hike. A red-tailed hawk swooped down into a thick coverage of spruce trees causing quite a commotion with someone else. After a few minutes quietly waiting, a Barred Owl flew out of the spruce woodlands about 20-30 yards away from us and into another patch. It was a magnificent site to see. The group searched around the woodlands for a little longer in hopes to see him again, but weren't lucky enough for a second look. The barred owl has been absent from BCP for 15 years and has returned this past year. One reason for its return could be the recent closure of the Chandler Mill Bridge resulting in less traffic and noise pollution. Hopefully, we'll be able to spot or hear him on Monday's Owl Prowl at BCP from 6-7:30pm. The picture below is a barred owl spotted at Bucktoe Creek Preserve (BCP) and was taken by Timothy Zador. Perhaps, the same barred owl we spotted over the weekend. He doesn't seem to mind showing himself mid-day! 

Barred Owl

If you haven't yet attended the Wildlife in Winter Series, the final part on migration will be Saturday March 9 from 10:00-12:00pm at Bucktoe Creek Preserve. This will be led by birder, Holly Merker!

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