Congratulations to Kyle Tansley for winning the October 2019 Vermont Atlas of Life iNaturalist photo-observation of the month. The image of Barred Owl feeding on a snake along the Burlington bike path garnered the most votes.
A few days early, Kyle noted that he spent nearly six hours watching this owl. “It ate four snakes: one huge one and three smaller ones. It was 4/7 in hunting tries (4 successes, 3 tries came up empty handed). It was mostly hunting from 11:40 to around 4pm, and then napped from around 4pm to 5:30pm. At 5:30 it stretched and preened and flew off deeper into the woods, at which time I ceased birding.Throughout the day, many people stopped to observe the bird.”
Barred Owls breed in forests throughout the state and are an opportunistic predator preying on small mammals and rabbits, birds up to the size of grouse, amphibians, reptiles, and invertebrates. Small mammals make up the largest portion of their diet overall, but seasonally, amphibians and reptiles can outweigh mammals on the menu.
Visit the Vermont Atlas of Life on iNaturalist where you can vote for the winner this month by clicking the ‘fav’ star on your favorite photo-observation. Make sure you get outdoors and record the biodiversity around you, then submit your discoveries and you could be a winner!