What: On Saturday Nathan and I went for a wander in Centennial Woods. We were exploring the lower stretches of Centennial Brook in Fox Marsh when we heard some crows making a ruckus to our East. We decided to track down the birds and see what the fuss was all about. Turns out the crows were harassing a barred owl that seemed more interested in napping than paying attention to the crows. After about 15 minutes the crows left the owl at peace. It was interesting to watch the owl over then next 45 minutes or so because any time a crow flew nearby it would caw, just to remind the owl they knew it was there. We walked back to my house to get better binoculars and my camera and the owl was still there by the time we got back. I snapped a couple of pictures of the owl perched near the top of an old white pine.
|Short-tailed shrew skull found in barred owl pellet|
|Challenge: Find its eyes (or ears)!|
Some observations we made about the shrew:
- They have super short hair that rubs well both forward and back (possibly for entering unknown tunnels in search of prey)
- They have large ear openings, but the external ear itself is super small
- Their eyes are all but absent
- Their whiskers are very prominent up the snout
- The snout seemed to have the same reddish purple color that the teeth have
- Their claws were exceptionally long
Other notes: Almost exactly a year ago I spotted a barred owl in the same spot in the same way. I had actually followed the crows to a nearby spot where they were mobbing a red-tailed hawk.