Tag Archives: wildlife-in-the-yard

Great Horned Owl Fight

I heard a crash and thud this evening like falling furniture but saw the cats weren’t the cause.  After a minute or so there was another thump and thud and the sound of an owl hooting.  So I grabbed my camera and went upstairs to the patio outside the bedroom, expecting maybe to see an owl going at the plastic owl on the patio. (The fake owl is there to keep away small birds that would otherwise fall prey to Pan as he lies in wait every morning.)

Not something you see everyday…

However, what I found was two great horned owls in a vicious brawl on the patio floor.  Pan and I watched from behind the door as they kept at it for some ten minutes or so, despite me turning on the porch light, making noise and cracking open the door to get a better look.  Not wanting to see how far this would eventually go, I pounded on the glass to drive them off.  Now I’m imagining that one of these owls was a newcomer trying to encroach on my neighborhood owl’s plastic “mate” on my porch.

It’s not unusual for us to see or hear owls around the house here in Santa Cruz, including perched on my bedroom roof but I’ve never captured decent video or photos of them.  (Unfortunately, I didn’t notice my auto-focus was disabled on my camera until five minutes into filming this brawl.)

Before posting this, I looked online to see if this vicious-looking fight is something great horned owls commonly do.  I found that they are territorial but confrontations are usually in the form of sounding vocalizations and spreading wings before escalating further.  However, it sounds like they are known to sometimes go so far as to kill each other in territorial conflicts.  Would love to read comments on this encounter from any well-informed folk.

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Mmmm… Acorns

Nom nom nom…

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Big Bear Visit

We had a big bear visit the Tahoe house a few days ago – for size comparison, that bear box holds two full size trash cans and then some:

Update: And another couple of visitors in September:

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Bear Inspection

We came across a bear near the Tahoe house today – inspecting a neighbor’s “bear box”:

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Turkey for Dinner

Look who showed up at the door for dinner…

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Bobcat Crossing Ahead

It would seem that my backyard has become quite the bobcat crossing – this collection of clips is just from the past few weeks:

Perhaps these are those same bobcat siblings I spied as youngsters playing in the yard a few years ago.

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More Wildlife Visits

More recent wildlife visits in the yard – deer, coyotes and bobcats:

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Ghost Bear Visit

I noticed a curious thing on the Tahoe house front camera after a recent snowfall: first a pristine layer of snow across the driveway and then, a little later, a set of tracks across the driveway and *directly* under the camera….. but no recording of the creature that left them. This camera triggers a recording every time a passing car’s headlights even just illuminates the driveway and yet… no recording of the mysterious creature.  Spooky!

Now given the size and shape of the footprints, and how they lead under the front porch, there can be only one conclusion: it was a visit by the ghost bear!!

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Early Morning Bear Patrol

Video from my front camera at the Tahoe house early yesterday morning catches a bear checking the car doors of both Mark and Lindsay’s cars in the driveway.  Unfortunately my video stops short of showing how they try to pull on the door handles.  Lindsay noticed somebody’s car down the street appeared to have been opened up and searched by a bear that morning.  Matt went out the previous morning to find both of his passenger side doors wide open but nothing ransacked.  Last year, Troy found all four doors of his extended cab pickup truck open in the driveway with dirty paw prints over everything.  Looks like even if you don’t leave any food or trash in your car, this bear goes around checking for unlocked doors!

And on a related note, the Placer County Sheriff recently helped this crying cub bear get out of a trash dumpster:

 

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A Covey of Quail

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Two More Bobcats

I heard a strange, low moaning/growl from the scrub behind the house.  It definitely got Pan and Hera’s attention.  It sounded like a noise a calf might make – but when I waited around to see if whatever it was would emerge, it turned out to be a pair of juvenile bobcats growling at each other:

Video footage of two bobcats hanging out behind the house (2:31, 51 MB)

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Tracking Coyotes

I’ve had a few chances to try using my drone to track the coyotes that are often in the neighborhood.  They don’t seem too disturbed by the Mavic but I keep it back aways and zoom in and crop to get some decent footage.  One of them even came running over to investigate when I had it hovering some 20 ft off the ground in the nearby field:

Spying on coyotes from a drone (2:19, 47 MB)

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Noisy Damn Frogs

Every year the frogs seem to die off (or get eaten) sometime in the summer but every year there’s another big batch of them in the tiny little pond out front.  And good grief, they’re loud!

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Suspects in the Yard

Somebody’s been eating my newly planted flowers in my front yard. I was pretty sure I knew who the culprit was, but for fun I moved my motion-activated camera to the front yard, near the house, to see what I might find.  Well, it took only a couple of nights to catch a whole range of suspects prowling my yard.

I knew there were a couple of rabbits that have taken up residence beneath some of the tall grasses near the house since I sometimes see them out and about in the mornings.  And not surprising to see the coyotes trying to find the rabbits.  But it was a surprise to see a bobcat has been trying to catch the bunnies in the yard too.  And of course I also caught the true culprits who’ve been eating my flowers!  I’ve now installed a motion-activated light and noise-maker now so perhaps the flowers will recover.

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A Visit from Wile E. Coyote

I noticed Pan looking out the window intently this morning… presumably watching the wild rabbits in the front yard again.  But no, it was somebody else looking for the bunnies today!  Grabbed a little video, set to the tune of some classic cartoon music from Warner Brothers:

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Wildcam: Lions and Tigers and…

I bought one of those motion-sensing wildlife “game” cameras and have been trying it in different spots around my property here in the hills near Santa Cruz.  Not so many lions and tigers and bears, but lots of deer and coyotes, the occasional raccoon and squirrel, but also caught a bobcat and a couple of bucks sparring in just the past month:

More local Santa Cruz wildlife:

    

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