March 9, 2015

Owl Versus Crow, Round Two

By Iain MacLeod

While I was out running chores on Monday February 23, I photographed another crow and owl encounter along Tenney Mountain Highway in Plymouth.

I spotted a Barred Owl sitting quietly in the sun next to the road at about 11am. After a few minutes three American Crows landed in the tree above the owl. The owl gazed up and seemed to brace for what was coming. One at a time the crows dive bombed the owl then looped up and landed above the owl, ready to strike again. I grabbed the camera and snapped a series of shots of the third attack. One photo shows the crow ON the owl’s head! That was enough for the owl and it headed off into a group of pines nearby… followed by the three crows.

This scenario is likely being played out all over New England this winter. Because of the deep snow pack and sub-zero temperatures, Barred Owls are spending more time hunting during the day because their typical nocturnal rodent prey is deep under the snow. They are actively hunting during the daylight hours in the hope of finding diurnal squirrels and perhaps a bird or two.

Crows will mob any predator that they deem to be a threat and owls are a prime target. Eric D’Aleo’s incredible account of the crow and owl locked in combat is an illustration of the animosity between these two species that can turn deadly

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