I'm not a biologist.....but I did stay in a Holiday Inn Express a few times. The apparent random killings of small game that owl's do may be nature's way of allowing the food sources of those small game animals to replenish.Steeltrap, I see the same thing in areas I hunt when owls are present, no rabbits, also no grouse, no pheasants, and not much of anything else they kill. An owl is natural killer often killing just to kill. Glad someone can see the impacts of an uncontrolled raptor population. Many just blame it on habitat or disease.
When you go out in the woods and find several turkey poults laying dead with their head cut off, and neither the head or carcass eaten, that is killing just to kill. Or a farmer who in the morning finds a lot of dead poultry, again with the heads removed and nothing eaten. This is just what they do, many other animals will kill just to kill, such as a coon in the hen house. Domestic dogs will do the same. To control predation, you control predator numbers, but this is greatly frowned apon by anti hunters, who want predators to control game numbers, so people do not have much game to hunt and quit hunting. A good example of this was with wild pheasants here in PA, very few hunt for wild pheasants anymore in PA because they are basically wiped out. Today most pheasant hunters in PA rely on the stocking truck. Many years back, while muskrat trapping we came across 5 dead pheasants, that an owl killed out of a big willow tree, at a pond. Now the pond is still there, the muskrats and pheasant are gone and the owls are doing well.Really?
I seem to be having a bit of a problem finding anything about owls being much of a surplus killer.
My guess, the birds are more worried about the hawks that eat birds at bird feeders.If anyone has any extra owls or hawks, send them my way, I have a bunch of chipmunks and squirrels that would make a good meal for them. The birds would appreciate not having to find those vermin at my bird feeder.
I do not think they are lazy, common sense leads me to believe they are eating something. You may not be looking hard enough for where they killed something, fact is, if they are living, they are eating something. Learned this stuff in school a long time ago, 7th grade, teacher named Mr. Clough, he also gave us our hunter safety course. Back then they taught us that if you did not control predator numbers, small game numbers would be hurt. Long time ago, but they sure were right on the money. If you think you have a lot of rabbits, and want to hunt them I can bring some dogs up for a hunt. Learned a long time ago 1 rabbit can leave a lot of tracks. My guess is on a good day many would find it hard, to consistently be able to go out and kill a limit of rabbits and squirrels in one day. From your past posts, you seem to be fortunate to have good game numbers in your area.Even though I hear owls about every night I am outside around my house for any length they must really be extremely lazy owls. There are both rabbits and squirrels all around where I live.
Now that I am not taking the dog hunting every morning I am back to taking him up on the hill above my house for a run every morning. With the snow on the ground it is easy to see that there are rabbits hopping around all over the place at night. Based on all the squirrel tracks I am seeing the hawks around here must be extremely lazy too.
Funny thing is mixed in with all of those rabbit and squirrel tracks are both fox and coyote tracks yet I haven't see any evidence that any of them or a hawk or owl has caught even one rabbit or squirrel. I guess they might have caught a squirrel up in a tree where I wouldn't see the evidence but rabbits don't spend any of their nights in the trees so I suspect the evidence of one of them being killed would be out there on the snow for all to see. I guess we must just have a bunch of lazy and worthless predators around here.