[mou] Goldfinches and Barred Owls

Holly Peirson hpbirdscouter at msn.com
Wed Jan 23 07:43:10 CST 2008

Shoot, for a minute there I thought you were going to say the Barred's were
catching the Goldfinches...!! hee hee...

My thoughts:

Well, the best explanation about the finches is that they may not be the
same ones as last year. They are pretty itinerant, as with most finches.
They are most likely not the same ones you have in the warmer months,
either, these ones are probably from farther north. That the sparrows are
displacing them is no surprise, although goldfinches can be pretty feisty
when hungry. Also, black oilers provide more oil than nyjer so depending on
the temps in your area over the last week, I'll bet they would readily eat
the food that will sustain them for longer in the day and through the night.

The Barred Owls may have had a good nesting season last year so there are
more trying to make it through the winter... And, you have a fair amount of
snow in Mankato right now, I think? So the owls are having to dig deep for
their vole meals. When they find a good location they will come back to it,
and Barred Owls are commonly active in the daytime as well as early AM and
early evening, so you may SEE them more often than other owls.  Maybe last
year's siblings are still sticking together, that's a possibility, although
at this time of year when they are beginning their mating calls, it might
just be that you are at the confluence of several territories. Sometimes our
yard seems to be at the edge of several; we can see and hear them on either
side of the house all night.

Last week we had the same with Great Horned Owls, it's fun to be able to
hear them for a whole evening or two!

Of course this is all pure speculation... But it's fun to think on it!

Holly Peirson 
Columbus, Anoka Co.

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