Stevens Park Pygmy Owl

Rebecca Coulter

Hello birders,
This morning while doing a bit of CBC scouting, Libby Patten and I noticed a sizable mob of birds making a racket on the west side of the creek, upstream of the Foothill Bridge about 100 meters. After a few minutes we found a Northern Pygmy-Owl tucked away in a eucalyptus sapling. We watched it tolerate the mob for about 15 minutes, until we left the area. The mobbing behavior was different from other alarms from small birds, in that the activity was intensely focused around the owl itself, as birds moved in closer to chatter and fly about its head much as crows do with perched hawks. The Bushtits did not give the usual “Cooper’s Hawk!” alarm but instead joined the mob, made up mostly of Oak Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and Yellow-rumped Warbler. Townsend’s and Orange-crowned warblers joined in occasionally, as did Spotted Towhee and Hermit Thrush from the ground.

In other Stevens Park news, we didn’t find a reported Varied Thrush, but the place is crawling with Robins and Hermit Thrushes feasting on the toyon berries. There are a few heavily laden toyon just below the check dam; more scouting there might turn up this Varied Thrush.

Rebecca Coulter
Santa Barbara

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