NOT GIVING A HOOT!

07/03/2018
story and photos by John Adamski

While looking for whitetail fawns to photograph, I encountered this trio of young barred owls perched in a hemlock tree. They are most likely siblings that have recently fledged and are exploring a whole new world together. When I spotted them, I stopped and stood stock still as they rubber-necked in unison in an effort to figure me out. Due to the dark lighting conditions, I had to fumble with the ISO setting on my camera in order to get a decent shot–all the while hoping that they wouldn’t take off on me. But their curiosity was in my favor, which enabled me to successfully capture two dozen images before they tired of the encounter and finally flew off.

Barred owls roost quietly in forest trees during the day and can be distinguished by their dark brown eyes. Most other owl species have yellow eyes. At night they make the easily recognizable call of “Who cooks for you?” Living in the woods, I have heard them hoot just outside my bedroom windows on many occasions. Like most other owls, the barred owl primarily feeds on rodents and other small animals.


John has been a published writer/photographer for 40 years and is a 4-time award-winning member of New York State Outdoor Writers Association. Two of those awards were for these “Life in the Finger Lakes” articles: Plight of the White Deer and From the Brink of Extinction.