07192017 Barn Owl
On a hot, sunny Wednesday afternoon, Gary, Bill, Ann and I went to John’s (our Amish friend) farm north of Grabill to photograph the barn owl box that was installed at the top of an unused silo. The box has been a success; the Barn Owl hatched 5 eggs and the “kids” are doing well. We wanted some pictures of the roost. The net floor that was installed last year has also worked well with the success of three Barn Owl babies released to the wild.
After bringing the farm’s hay baling to a complete stop with introductions and greetings, Gary brought out his huge telephoto camera and other equipment, which brought even a larger audience. Meanwhile the 10 gigantic, gorgeous draft horses stood patiently waiting while their drivers left for the Barn Owl show. Gary setup the telephoto camera about 100 ft. away from the silo to catch a picture of any adult Barn Owls that might leave. Bill was instructed on how to snap a few pictures. Gary then grabbed his gear and ascended the inside of the silo which flushed an adult. Wow, it came out like a rocket and crossed the buildings and went out of sight. Oops, no picture! While Gary climbed, I examined the floor of the silo for pellets, etc. where I spotted a fledgling Barn Owl. Apparently, he was small enough to slip by the ring holding the netting. Quickly, he was retrieved and brought out of the silo. A quick exam showed a well fed baby with no injuries. He hadn’t been down long. Meanwhile, Gary grabbed a bunch of shots, climbed down and displayed some good pictures of the owl box and the roost area. The big pile of black pellets on the netting indicates a generous supply of voles on this farm.
To return the bird to the roost, we placed it in Gary’s middle sized back pack and handed it to Jacob, one of John’s sons. Jacob quickly climbed the outside of the silo and placed the fledgling back in the box with its siblings. This “Monkey-faced” owl was the smallest and received a greeting of many hisses!
After having cold drinks retrieved from the ice house (ice blocks cut from their pond), it was time for the “English” to leave. The horses were harnessed and the sons mounted the baler and returned to their chores.