Owl Diary: Friday 1/18

The east owl continues to define “site fidelity” in wide brackets. This morning around 9 it stood near, but not in, the niche in the rip-rap where it hid out persistently for weeks in December. Instead of hiding its body behind the rock under the brush awning, it stood fully exposed on a higher neighboring rock, calmly on one leg, swiveling its head at the leisurely pace of every seven or eight seconds.

East owl near but not in its usual niche

In that position, but not in its usual niche, the bird’s torso could be seen from outside the fence. Photographer Phil Rowntree spotted it there — good eye! Here it is, with a rusty old anchor in the foreground.

East owl partially visible from outside the fence

The north owl, seen a few minutes later, defines site fidelity much more narrowly. It stood just a few inches east of its usual post. It swiveled its head at a quicker pace than the east owl. The pace of head movements may be a quantitative measure of the bird’s level of alertness. The bird’s eyes scanned in all directions for things that might be of interest to it. It totally ignored a log floating on the current directly behind it.

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