Photographer James Kusz had a big surprise while walking on the Virginia Street Extension at around ten in the morning. Just over the fence in the former Berkeley Meadow (now Sylvia McLaughlin Eastshore State Park) he saw a grownup Barn Owl winging and soaring low through the shrubs and trees, obviously hunting.
These birds, which have been seen to breed in Chavez Park, are normally nocturnal. Their exquisite night vision and hearing allow them to hunt successfully in complete darkness. But, for some reason, this individual chose to hunt in daylight. Daylight hunting by Barn Owls is reported more commonly in Britain and occasionally in Pacific islands. They are said to hunt in daytime particularly if bad weather such as heavy rain has made night hunting too difficult. That’s clearly not the issue here. This is another case for the MATWOB file (Mysterious Are The Ways Of Birds). The takeaway is that when we walk in and around the park, we need to be prepared for surprises.