Like many people, we enjoy a Sunday afternoon visit with friends or family. Nice coffee, perhaps a slice of cake, and lots of catching up on the happenings of the past week or so.
This afternoon my sister-in-law texted us with the usual invite, but asked my husband to bring along his camera and a long lens. They had a “big bird” visiting that they couldn’t photograph clearly since it was too far away. Of course, never letting an opportunity pass, we got all the gear together and got in the car.
The Snymans do not live too far away, so we arrived in good time to see their big bird. It was sitting fairly high in a tree, and driving the other birds crazy with its presence. To them he was more than just a visitor, he was a threat.
When we had a similar owl visiting not so long ago (8 Jan 2012), we were quite happy to see it, since we do not live far away from the Rietvlei Nature Reserve. The Snyman’s home cannot make the same claim. However, their suburb is rich with trees and parks and an ideal place to find an owl or two.
These nocturnal birds are often found in built-up areas since their main source of food also happen to like human habitation very much. The family did mention that they often had mice pestering them and their neighbours, so the owl was a welcome sight. It had been spotted before, so it knew that there could be food around come sunset.
Keep an eye out in your trees, especially at late afternoon, you might find an owl resting there before it turned those sharp eyes to the rodents that might be infesting your neighbourhood. If you have a mice or rat problem, take care to only use animal-friendly means to get rid of them. Poison will kill the predator too, and remove a more friendly means of keeping the place pest free.
Photographs are courtesy of Francois Venter.