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Today during the monthly bird count at the former muck farms around the Lake
Apopka Restoration Area Carol Paine and I observed a Barn Owl that plopped
down in a shrubby bush. The owl was having difficulty balancing on the small
branches and was doing a lot of wing flapping to try and maintain its
balance while it maneuvered in the bush.  We also observed the owl bobbing
its head back and forth almost constantly the entire time it was observed.
It seemed to be looking at something on the ground below its perch.

What does this head bobbing mean?  I've read 3 different explanations so
far, one stating it helps the owl to hear its prey better, another statement
saying it helps the owl to see its prey better and a third that said it was
a form of courtship behavior.  We did not see any other owls around so the
third theory is suspect.

Any thoughts appreciated.

Also observed during the count were:
Indigo Buntings, Blue Grosbeaks, Painted Buntings, Yellow-breasted Chats and
nesting Orchard Orioles.  We did not stay for the final tally, so don't know
if any Dickcissels were seen today or not.

Cheri Pierce/Apopka
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