Susan, Peter and I took a walk in the Arnold Arboretum today, cut short by the rain. On our way back to Forest Hills, we saw a large whoosh of brown feathers fly low right over the path. It was a large owl of some sort and it was being pursued by a bunch of crows. We caught up with it down the path where it settled in the branch of a tree and looked pretty calm. Perhaps it realized that it is much bigger than the crows. It stayed still long enough for me to get one quick, blurry photo.
I shared the photo with our friend Toby who is a birder and she identified it as a Barred Owl:
They tend to like densely wooded and swampy areas, but every winter one or two of them show up in downtown Boston … They feed mostly on rodents, so downtown Boston offers rich pickings.
Even though a Barred Owl does not present a threat to crows, they’ll chase it anyway. Any kind of raptor will set them off, and Great Horned Owls (which live in the same types of habitat) are a danger.
We’re having a problem with mice in our kitchen so perhaps we should invite the Barred Owl to stop by.
This concludes the ornithological lesson for today.