1/7/2016 11:57:06 am
Looks like a great-horned owl to me. Some people call them "flying tigers" because they aren't shy about taking on big prey. Maybe this one tried to catch a fox and got more than it bargained for!
1/7/2016 03:14:05 pm
I also walked my dog by this scene, in my case on 1-6. My impression was that the foot/talons are way too small for an adult Great Horned Owl. It would have to have come from a smaller raptor.
1/7/2016 01:47:59 pm
Great horned owl.
1/7/2016 02:14:45 pm
Mara Mcdonald, who consulted her network, also confirms.
1/8/2016 09:48:15 am
My original comments to Mara:
1/8/2016 05:28:58 am
I sent the pictures of the Lakeshore Preserve “nature crime” to Dave Willard,Bird Collections Manager Emeritus, and Josh Engel, Bird Research Assistant, at the Field Museum in Chicago. Below are their responses.
2/23/2016 11:35:31 am
An update to this area of the Preserve..Over the last month, I have seen and heard only barred owls around Frautschi Point and the Big Oak Trail, including perched in the very tree where this scene occurred. I don't know of any long-eared owls in the Madison area but, there are Great Horned Owls that nest at the Preserve (frequently heard/seen near biocore prairie). My thoughts are that the feathers had more golden color and pattern that match more closely to GHO compared to barred owl. However, the size of the foot/talon indicate a much smaller owl. To me, the evidence points towards a young GHO.
2/23/2016 12:20:57 pm
A young GHO at that time of year would probably already be at close to full adult size, and certainly way, way bigger than the foot/talon indicated, so it couldn't have been a GHO. My impression was that the talons would be good for mouse or chipmunk sized animals, and not much larger. Unfortunately, the evidence now seems to be gone.
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