Our Backstreets #25: Ferdy on Roof, etc.


December 6, 2008, high noon

Owl%20street%20sign.jpgBy Marilyn Ferdinand

When I’m not watching something on a screen, cooking, eating, or any of the other things I do in my off hours, you might find me out birding. Reports of a snowy owl had my birding buddy Eleanora ready to run out of the house last night. Owling normally is done at night, but knowing snowys are easy to spot during the day, I said, “Curb your enthusiasm.” This charming lady owl was waiting for us today when we got to a building near the corner of Sacramento Boulevard and (get this) Ferdinand Street. I’ve named her Ferdy.

  • Jonathan Lapper spoke:
    8th/12/2008 to 7:43 am

    I think Ferdy the Snowy Owl is beautiful. What a great shot. Around here we get barn owls mainly.
    To share some of my own experiences, just yesterday as I was taking out some recycling a red-tailed hawk swooped down in the yard (missing it’s prey, a mouse) and lit on the fence only six feet away from me. Once I moved it flew off. I’m not a bird watcher per se but I love watching birds, if that makes sense. I grew up on a lake bordered by a creek and miles of marshlands in the South and birds of all varieties were plentiful in my backyard, including Bald Eagles, who nested in a reserve just miles from my parents house.
    Anyway, we have many red-tailed hawks in the area. Here are a couple of pictures of a close encounter I had with one a couple of years ago. The branch was only about 12 feet up and I had my camera on me (unfortunately the camera wasn’t that great so they’re not the best pictures in the world but I loved that it kept staring at me). The third pic is of some Black Vultures on top of an old water tank on Wye Island in Maryland.
    First Pic
    Second Pic
    Black vultures

  • Marilyn spoke:
    8th/12/2008 to 8:18 am

    Jonathan, those are really great pictures! We get a lot of red-tails, too, actually, a great variety of species in Chicago proper; urban birding here is great, especially with the lakefront attracting waterfowl other places don’t get. A lot of people don’t realize what’s all around them. It’s great that you appreciate what’s out there. If more people did, we’d be able to preserve more habitat.
    Ferdy the Snowy Owl was actually fairly far from the spot where I took the picture. However, the miracle of digital zoom made it possible to see what exactly I captured. There was a couple out there with a spotting scope, and we tried to take pictures through that. I think Eleanora got one or two good ones that way, but the wind was cold and fierce, and the tripod was shaking. I decided to just get as close as I could and snap. Worked out.

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