Seattle Parks and Recreation Jesús Aguirre, Superintendent
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Barred Owls at Camp Long
A juvenile Barred Owl (Strix varia) peers curiously at its photographer from the woods at Camp Long. One adult and 2 juveniles have been sighted by naturalists over the last 2 months.
Although a nest has not been located it is very likely that the owls nested at Camp Long.
Nests are difficult to find since Barred owls prefer to nest in tree cavities. They will also use empty hawk nests, crows nests, or squirrel nests. Barred owlets fledge (fly) at 6 weeks old but continue to be cared for by adults for up to six months. Breeding takes place in early spring and eggs are incubated for 28-33 days. It is estimated that the Camp Long owlets are approximately 2 to 2 ½ months old. This one was extremely curious and flew closer to examine the photographer as its sibling hissed and begged for food from the adult nearby.
Barred owls are large owls (20" tall) with round heads and NO ear tufts. They are brownish-gray with brown and white bars across their chest, hence the name"barred" owls. Unlike most owls their eyes are dark brown instead of yellow. They are found in lowland forests, parks and suburban areas. Barred owls are often out at night, dawn or dusk, but can also be seen during the day. They eat primarily mice, as well as squirrels, foxes, rabbits, bats, small birds, other owls, snakes, lizards, fish, spiders and insects.
The barred owl (Strix varia) is native to eastern forests but has moved into the Pacific Northwest over the last several decades. It is believed that they are displacing their close relative, the threatened northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis caurina). Barred owls are larger, more aggressive, and better adapted to a range of habitats. As the Barred Owl moves into the Pacific Northwest, it is also breeding with the Spotted Owl, to form hybrid birds slangily called "Sparred Owls".
The familiar "Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you all?"
is the signature call of the Barred Owl.
Photos and text by Jeanie Murphy Ouellette on July 5, 2004
Spotting Eaglets with Camp Long!
Photographer Mike Hamilton snapped these photos of an eaglet during Camp Long's Enthralling Eagle program. The nest is located on the hillside directly behind the Parks Department Westbridge building. The eaglet was probably around 3 months old at the time of this photo (July 2003), given that eggs are laid around mid - March and they incubate for approximately 30 -35 days. This baby is just about full sized - 2-3 ½ feet tall with wing span of 6-8 feet. It is now called a fledgling and will start hopping around and exercising its wings to prepare for flight.
This is a Northwestern Salamander!
The Northwestern Salamander breeds in Camp Long's Polliwog Pond (move over polliwogs!). They breed in mid -February to early March and their egg masses range from the size of a fist to a grapefruit. The jelly mass contains about 40 - 250 individual eggs. They hatch into little salamander larvae (like frog tadpoles but with gills on the side of the neck) in about 4-8 weeks, depending on water temperature and species. They belong to a family called Mole salamanders whose adults spend most time on land (in this case in the forest) but migrate to ponds or slow moving streams to breed. Adults return to land within a few days of breeding.
Updated October 12, 2007
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