Feb 3, 2013 - A stranger calling can be a good thing!
When I find a good productive place to explore, I find myself returning over and over, each time looking in a different area.
This weekend, the sun was shining early on Sunday, so off I went. The destination was the Humber Arboretum, where I was pretty sure I'd find a Saw-Whet owl (and sure enough I did), and I was also hopeful I'd also find the Great Horned owls I've seen on previous visits.
Upon arrival, I checked out the usual spots for songbirds and smaller species, and wasn't disappointed. Within a few minutes I had seen white-breasted nuthatches, woodpeckers including the red-bellied woodpecker, and even managed to spot a doe walking by.
Trekking further away from my starting point, I noticed a lot of tiny cones in a tree, and heard some birds that sounded different than usual. These birds were feeding on the cones, and once I got closer I realized they were common redpolls, which I've been meaning to get more shots of lately.
Roaming around the forest for quite a while, I was unable to spot the Great Horned Owls. I was on my way out of the park when something interesting happened. I know from experience that when crows and small birds are making strange calls, they may be 'alarm-calling' to alert others of an intruder. I was hearing a very strange call, and so I sought out the source.
Eventually I found the strange caller. It was a Coopers Hawk high in a tree, squawking a blue streak. I went closer to where he was trying to get a clear shot of him, and that's when I noticed he was screaming about the Great Horned Owl in an adjacent tree! Needless to say I was excited to find the hawk, and even more excited to find the owl he was crying about.
If there's a lesson learned, it's that when you're looking for owls or other predators, pay close attention to the bevaviour of other birds. They may be trying to tell you something, and this is when you'll be happy you listened when a stranger called :)