Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Short-eared Owls at Killdeer Plains

     Monday was a gorgeous day! Beautiful sunshine and best of all....NO WIND!
That made it a great day to watch and photograph Short-eared Owls. "Shorties" usually begin hunting about 30-60 minutes before sunset. They don't prefer to hunt in windy weather.
    The Shorties begin moving north to their spring and summer locations around early to mid February. Some years they stay a bit later depending on weather conditions. 
    Last year, we skipped Killdeer Plains in favor of visiting Pickaway County. We had amazing opportunities there, but hadn't had an opportunity to go there. We've also watched them at Huffman Prairie....and watched as 7 Shorties launched out of the prairie within seconds of each other.
    I saw that the owls were still showing at Killdeer so we made the trip on Monday.
There's so much to see at Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area! I'll add a separate post on our other views.
    Here's some of our favorite Short-eared Owl images for this visit, and a clip of David's amazing capture of a Shortie Dive for prey. 
    I've included a map as well....our favorite area to see the owls is on Township Highway 108, along the two ponds. The area is boxed in red. While the Shorties can be seen almost anywhere at Killdeer, TH 108 offers the most reliable looks. 

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Pileated Woodpeckers

    We were taking advantage of the unseasonably warm and sunny weather and happened upon this Pileated Woodpecker pair readying their nest cavity. Nest construction takes 4-6 weeks....looks like they have been working on this one for a while. Mom was doing most of the work, chipping out the interior of the cavity....she does not have the red facial stripe as dad has. He was staying nearby; keeping an eye out (he's the last pic). Once eggs are laid, both mom & dad take turns incubating the eggs which takes from 15-18 days. Hoping we can watch this family through the season. I'll share pics, but am not posting the location so the birds won't be distracted as they begin nesting.

Mrs. Pileated Woodpecker enlarging the nest cavity.

Chipping away...

Mr. Pileated Woodpecker keeping watch.