Eight Hooter, Rain Owl, Wood Owl, Striped Owl, Barred Owl

Barred Owl, photo by Mark Miller

Those cool names are from the Wikipedia for the Barred Owl (Strix varia). The All About Birds page on Bard Owls says in part:

The Barred Owl’s hooting call, “Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you-all?” (see video below) is a classic sound of old forests and treed swamps. But this attractive owl, with soulful brown eyes and brown-and-white-striped plumage, can also pass completely unnoticed as it flies noiselessly through the dense canopy or snoozes on a tree limb. Originally a bird of the east, during the twentieth century it spread through the Pacific Northwest and southward into California.

Barred Owls live year-round in mixed forests of large trees, often near water. They tend to occur in large, unfragmented blocks of mature forest, possibly because old woodlands support a higher diversity of prey and are more likely to have large cavities suitable for nesting. Their preferred habitats range from swamps to streamsides to uplands, and may contain hemlock, maple, oak, hickory, beech, aspen, white spruce, quaking aspen, balsam poplar, Douglas-fir, lodgepole pine, or western larch.

Barred Owls don’t migrate, and they don’t even move around very much. Of 158 birds that were banded and then found later, none had moved farther than 6 miles away. (In Michigan, the average range is about a mile)

 
View Mark’s photo bigger and see more in his In My Backyard slideshow.

More owls on Michigan in Pictures.

Super Color Tree

super-color-tree

Super Color Tree, photo by Scottie Williford

If you’d like to try this at home, the recipe is: 590nm infrared, f/11 @1/125, iso 200

Here’s hoping you can catch some more fall color this weekend – looks like a great forecast!!

View Scottie’s photo bigger, see more in his slideshow, and be sure to follow Scottie Photography on Facebook.

Red Mohawk: At Home with Michigan’s Pileated Woodpecker

Red Mohawk

Red Mohawk, photo by PK HyperFocal

The All About Birds entry for the Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) says in part:

The Pileated Woodpecker is one of the biggest, most striking forest birds on the continent. It’s nearly the size of a crow, black with bold white stripes down the neck and a flaming-red crest. Look (and listen) for Pileated Woodpeckers whacking at dead trees and fallen logs in search of their main prey, carpenter ants, leaving unique rectangular holes in the wood. The nest holes these birds make offer crucial shelter to many species including swifts, owls, ducks, bats, and pine martens.

…The male begins excavating then nest cavity and does most of the work, but the female contributes, particularly as the hole nears completion. The entrance hole is oblong rather than the circular shape of most woodpecker holes. For the finishing touches, the bird climbs all the way into the hole and chips away at it from the inside. Periodically the adult picks up several chips at a time in its bill and tosses them from the cavity entrance. Pileated Woodpeckers don’t line their nests with any material except for leftover wood chips. The nest construction usually takes 3-6 weeks, and nests are rarely reused in later years. Cavity depth can range from 10-24 inches.

Nest trees are typically dead and within a mature or old stand of coniferous or deciduous trees, but may also be in dead trees in younger forests or even in cities. Dead trees are a valuable resource as nest sites or shelter for birds and other animals, and Pileated Woodpeckers battle for ownership with Wood Ducks, European Starlings, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Red-headed Woodpeckers, Eastern Bluebirds, and Great Crested Flycatchers. Occasionally bats and swifts share roost cavities with Pileated Woodpeckers.

Click through for lots more including calls, Pileated facts, and video.

PK HyperFocal’s photo background big and see more in his Feathers slideshow.

Lots more Michigan birds on Michigan in Pictures.

Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis)

Redbud

Redbud, photo by Stephen Thompson

The magenta flash of Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis) is one of my favorite sights in springtime. I used to think it was an exotic tree, but as Rick Meader of the Ann Arbor News shares, Redbud trees are native to southern Michigan:

…as a member of the Pea family (Fabaceae) it’s a cousin to the previous pod-producers we’ve learned about, Honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos) and Kentucky Coffeetree (Gymnocladus dioica). Let’s learn more about this colorful little native.

As mentioned before, Eastern redbud is native to southern Michigan, occurring naturally up to a line across the lower peninsula from Kent County to Genesee County. Nationally, it occurs naturally in an area extending from Maryland and the Carolinas west to eastern Kansas through Texas, including all of the southern states and northern Florida. Of course, because it’s a pretty little thing, it has been planted in areas beyond its native range.

If you want to use it in your landscape, it is fairly flexible in terms of where it will grow. It naturally occurs in rich soil along stream and river banks but is tolerant of a wider range of conditions. It likes sun or partial shade and can do well in most soils except waterlogged soils and dry, sandy soils.

Read on for more.

View Stephen’s photo bigger and jump into his slideshow for more great pics!

Hanging around with an Eastern Screech Owl

Eastern Screech Owl

Eastern Screech Owl, photo by Kevin Povenz

All About Birds’ entry for the Eastern Screech Owl (Megascops asio) says in part:

If a mysterious trill catches your attention in the night, bear in mind the spooky sound may come from an owl no bigger than a pint glass. Common east of the Rockies in woods, suburbs, and parks, the Eastern Screech-Owl is found wherever trees are, and they’re even willing to nest in backyard nest boxes. These supremely camouflaged birds hide out in nooks and tree crannies through the day, so train your ears and listen for them at night.

The Eastern Screech-Owl is a short, stocky bird, with a large head and almost no neck. Its wings are rounded; its tail is short and square. Pointed ear tufts are often raised, lending its head a distinctive silhouette.

Eastern Screech-Owls can be either mostly gray or mostly reddish-brown (rufous). Whatever the overall color, they are patterned with complex bands and spots that give the bird excellent camouflage against tree bark. Eyes are yellow.

Eastern Screech-Owls are active at night and are far more often heard than seen—most bird watchers know this species only from its trilling or whinnying song. However, this cavity-roosting owl can be attracted to nest boxes or, if you’re sharp-eyed, spotted in daylight at the entrance to its home in a tree cavity.

Read on for more including screech owl calls.

View Kevin’s photo bigger and see more in his massive Birds of Prey slideshow.

More owls on Michigan in Pictures.

A Tree in the Fog

A Tree in the Fog

A Tree in the Fog, photo by Joel Dinda

Joel took this photo on April 4, 2014 in Eaton County’s Roxand Township. View it background bigilicious and see more in his The Showcase slideshow.

More spring wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures!

O Tree, Live Forever

Kalamazoo Tree

O, tree, live forever, photo by Bill Dolak

Bill writes:

This tree in the Al Sabo Preserve in Kalamazoo County is a frequent subject and accessory for local photographers. I have images of it from the days I was still putting film into my SLR.

Regarding the Al Sabo Preserve, the Texas Charter Township Parks & Rec page says:

The Al Sabo Land Preserve was established in the early 1970’s in order to protect the groundwater supply of the Atwater wellfield. The 741 acres were purchased in the late 1960’s and a master plan was developed for its use as a passive recreation nature preserve. The City of Kalamazoo passed an ordinance that would ensure its protection as a water resource. The wetlands and sandy soils serve as a recharge area for the area’s groundwater.

View Bill’s photo background big and see more in his Al Sabo, Michigan slideshow.