This is a Rufous (brown) morph Eastern Screech Owl. There is also a grey morph but he hasn’t shown up yet. Males claim the holes, the female will inspect it and might move in.
They are small and agile, and about 7 to 10 inches tall and have a wingspan around 18 to 24 inches. We knew he was around but some friends we travel with pointed him out yesterday. This bird is invisible. These shots were as close as we would go, they live here, we just visit.
He did what all Screech Owls do, opened one eye to check us out. I have never seen a Screech Owl do anything other than that.
A new spot for Owls. At least for me, probably not him.
A side trail behind some swamp areas usually reserved for small warblers has been invaded by this Barred Owl. Maybe he came to visit the Warblers too.
With lots of thick branches and Spanish Moss an Owl can rest here, hide, and wait for some type of opportunity.
Barred Owls hunt by dropping down, or silent gliding, to prey from above. Most times prey is pinned to the ground for some time before the Owl flies off. Barred Owls here prefer Crayfish, and people don’t seem to get as queasy about the hunting routine for them. I know I don’t. They’re called ‘mud bugs’ for a reason.