Date: 11/3/17 2:51 pm
From: Carolyn A. Marsh <cmarshbird...>
Subject: [IN-BIRD-L] Illiana Birds: Barn Owl
Yesterday, 02 November 2017 at about 1 p.m., I discovered a state endangered
Barn Owl (Tylo alba) in the Hammond Bird Sanctuary. Bob Buskirk, former
editor of the Indiana Audubon Quarterly, was visiting the sanctuary, but was
in a different area so I went to look for him. Within minutes we connected
to go where I had seen it, but, it was gone. We walked together and
separately to relocate it, but failed. Due to time constraints and drizzle,
we left the sanctuary at different times.

Today Kathy McClain and I walked the sanctuary in the earlier afternoon and
it wasn't seen.

This is the second Barn Owl in the history of the sanctuary. It was a calm,
sunny 60-degree day on October 25, 1993 when I had a 10:30 a.m. appointment
with Elizabeth McCloskey, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, to walk the woods.
The 16-acre sanctuary was threatened by a condominium and retail development
so the meeting was to convince the Service it should be protected for the
birds. As we walked the landfill, it was hard to describe how it attracted
massive numbers of birds since it was the end of October. Talking on the
trail in front of Liz, to my amazement, I was interrupted by the sight of a
Barn Owl that flew from a very big old Mulberry Tree. (The tree is still
there.) It was about 4 feet off the ground when it started to fly low toward
us, and at about 30 feet in front of us, it extended its talons to brake its
flight and turned around. It flew to the west end of the woods and perched
high in a cottonwood tree. The tree still had gold leaves on it that
camouflaged its golden feathers well, but we both had good looks at its
white heart shaped face. We were speechless and convinced it was bird

Twenty-four years ago was prior to the marina, casino, parking lots, and
overpass so it was conceivable why it landed there. Why it appeared on the
lakefront today is truly puzzling.

Carolyn Marsh, Whiting, IN

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