Tag Archives: owl

Staying Put: Barred Owls at Lathrop

by Barbara Walvoord

First published in Lathrop Lamp Post Nov. 4-10, 2017

Some humans and birds at Lathrop depart for warmer climes for the winter.  But not our barred owls (Stix varia). They are staying put.

All winter along, you’ll be able to hear them in or near our forests, often at dusk or at night, calling “Who cooks for you?  Who cooks for you-all?”   Hear it at https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Barred_Owl/sounds

Barred owls find their prey by staying put: they perch silently on a dead branch over land or water, then swoop  down to catch squirrels, chipmunks, mice, voles, rabbits, birds (up to the size of a Continue reading Staying Put: Barred Owls at Lathrop


More Dwellings and a Marvelous Banquet Hall at Lathrop

by Barbara Walvoord

First published in the Lathrop Lamp Post of Sept. 30-Oct.  6, 2017

We’re thinking of increasing the number of dwellings we have for humans at Lathrop.  But dwellings for some of our wild critters are increasing as well–the holes in our trees.  Once a farm, Lathrop’s undeveloped lands have grown up in trees, and, as our forests age, we have more tree holes made by rot and by woodpeckers, especially pileated woodpeckers, who attack a tree with their hammer-heads and their big bills, creating a big hole and a veritable storm of wood chips below them, as they dig for carpenter ants.

One of the many creatures that use tree holes is the Eastern screech owl, whose eery, whinnying cry you can hear at night (hear the cry at https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Eastern_Screech-Owl/sounds). The screech owl is about the size of a pint jar. It sleeps in its hole during the day, and emerges at night to perch in open woodlands six to ten feet off the ground, waiting for its dinner.  Our land provides a Continue reading More Dwellings and a Marvelous Banquet Hall at Lathrop

Expecting at Lathrop, Part 4

by Barbara Walvoord

Several recent columns have featured pregnant Lathrop creatures. The most recent one was the porcupine, which is well defended against most predators, but has one special predator–the fisher–that knows how to overcome the porcupine’s defenses.

Also pregnant about now is another well-defended Lathrop resident–the skunk. Our skunk mom has emerged from her winter torpor–not quite a hibernation, but a slowing metabolism, during which her body temperature may have dropped 20 degrees. Invigorated by spring sunshine, she has mated with a polygamous dad, but for her, once is enough, and thereafter she has fought off all other suitors.

She’ll have her 4-8 babies in May or early June. She can dig her own den, but prefers to move into a used one, or, as some of us know, a spot under a porch. At 8 days old, the babies can emit their smelly defenses. Continue reading Expecting at Lathrop, Part 4