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Barred Owl and Crows

I didn't arrive in time, but a mob of American Crows forced the Ramble's Barred Owl to move today.  I was spending most of my time with the Saw-whet, but did enjoy a bit of time with the Barred Owl.

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Another Saw-Whet

Another Northern Saw-whet Owl was found in Central Park and I enjoyed watching it on Sunday afternoon.  It gave us great looks and coughed up a pellet about an hour before fly out.

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Barred Owl Hoots Briefly

The Barred Owl continued to give great looks and put on a show at fly out.  This evening it made a brief hoot and flew into an open tree giving us an unobstructed view.  It really is a wonderful bird and everyone is thrilled that it's stayed in the park so long.

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Barred Owl After Dark

I got to the Ramble Barred Owl after fly out this evening.  Luckily, that ended up to my benefit.  It went after a squirrel and then flew to a tree near the summer house.  It also gave a few hoots, which were fantastic even if I didn't get a recording.  This owl has previously been very quiet after fly out.

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Mandarin Duck In The Snow

The Mandarin Duck took the snow in stride this afternoon on Central Park's Pond.  Although the weather had deteriorated when I arrived, it was nice not to have to deal with the duck's crazy fans.  They've trashed the landscaping on the east shore of The Pond.  They're also feeding the ducks (and rats) bread and pretzels which are unhealthy for the ducks and is prohibited by the Parks Department.

The area around where the Mandarin Duck is residing is filled with wonderful wildlife.  Mallards, Wood Ducks, Canada Geese, American Coots, Red-tailed Hawks, American Kestrels, and Raccoons are always there in the winter, with many more birds and animals in the summer.  Nearby are a set of trees in Grand Army Plaza where hundreds of birds come to roost each evening.  The Hallett Nature Sanctuary, which is now open year round, is a wonderful place to enjoy nature and is on the west shore of the Pond. The sanctuary has hosted at least two coyotes in years past.

There is so much more to see at The Pond than just one duck.  It's sad to see people come into the park, motivated by their FOMO (fear of missing out) who stay at a frenetic NYC pace, rather than slowing down and enjoy a park that was designed specifically to be a restorative place for city dwellers.

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Barred Owl In The Snow

Yesterday, the Barred Owl remained hidden and no one saw it.  Luckily, today the Blue Jays found it.  It seemed to be taking the snowstorm in stride.  I wonder if dry snow is easier to deal with than rain?

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Barred Owl Continues

The Barred Owl continues to stick around the Ramble.  It changes trees every few days, but is a creature of habit.  It often returns to the same branch the next day.  It seems only to interested in changing trees once they lose their leaves.  Tonight, after looking a squirrel for about an hour, it flew out and after a brief stop went after it.  The squirrel survived, but it was a close call.

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American Woodcock

American Woodcocks are one of the parks strangest, but wonderful birds.  Adapted to eating insects living underground, the bird has a long beak and a wonderful "dance" to help find the insects.  The also are one of the hardest birds to find in the park.  They can sit still for hours and blend in with the leaf litter.

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Barred Owl Rediscovered

The Barred Owl that was in the Tupelo Meadow was rediscovered a few hundred yards further south today.  Bird Watchers also found the Barred Owl in the North Woods, that hadn't been seen for a few days.  I had a chance to photograph the one in the Ramble.

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Fifth Avenue Nest and Young Hawk At 78th

Hawks don't spend much time on their nests outside of breading season, but they do make visits like one of the Fifth Avenue hawks did today.  Later in the day, I saw a young hawk at 78th and Fifth on a communications dish above the French cultural center.  It will be interesting to see how long it takes Pale Male and Octavia to kick the youngster out.

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Barred Owl

I finally got to see the Barred Owl that has been hanging about the Ramble for the last week this morning.  It was high in the Tupelo Tree of the Tupelo Meadow.  The tree has just started to lose its leaves making it fairly easy to spot the owl.  Another Barred Owl was spotted in the Ravine later in the day, so I suspect we'll have more owl sightings in the next week.

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Confusing Day

There was a Barred Owl in The Ramble of Central Park this morning.  When I arrived in the park this afternoon, after hearing Blue Jay cries, I found an owl.  I though it was the Barred Owl at first, but then it looked like a Great Horned Owl, which I tweeted out using the #birdcp hashtag.  It was tucked in most of time, far away and obscured by leaves with an oval face and plump body.  But perched birds can be deceiving.  Lots of folks saw it, but after two hours Ryan Zucker came by and said, "I think that's a Long-eared Owl".  When I got home, I discovered one of the youngest birders in the park got it right.  It was a Long-eared Owl.  I've never seen one so early and never in a deciduous tree in Central Park.  Thanks for the correction Ryan.

Making the wrong I.D. is a big faux pas in birding, so I've been trying to figure out how I got it wrong.  I think I was biased by my previous Long-eared sightings, which where in snowy conditions, mid-winter.  Plus the bird was obscured and very, very high in the tree.  I looked up the frequency map on eBirds for New York County and Long-eared Owls, and while it showed mostly winter sightings, there are plenty of fall and spring sightings.  I'll need to give up my winter bias, and concentrate on chest stripping and color going forward!

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