Archive for the ‘Owling’ Category

Owling – Learn the Do’s and Don’ts

November 9, 2010

Owling is one of the most popular and exciting activities among birders. Owls are often elusive and difficult to see unless you know what you’re looking for. The following are a few tips to help with owling!

Know your species – Make sure you know what species are in your area and what habitat they live in. Any birding guide (e.g. National Geographic, Stokes, Audubon, Kaufman, etc.) can provide this information to you.

For example in the east the following species can be seen in their corresponding habitat:

Barn owls: One of the most widespread owls in the U.S. It is found in open habitats, such as grasslands, deserts, marshes, metropolitan areas, and agricultural fields. Sounds like a hissing catch with a cold.

Eastern screech-owls: Can be found in your backyard and may nest in nestboxes. Also found in lowland forests, mountainside woodlands, urban areas. Its song is a trill.

Barred owls: Found in deep forests, swamps, riparian, and upland habitats. Makes a distinct call: “Who cooks for you?!”

Great horned owls: Found in deciduous, mixed, or conifer forests, open and secondary-growth temperate woodlands, swamps, orchards, and agricultural areas. Songs are variable but mostly a series of “hoots.”

Timing – The best time to see most owls is at dusk. They sleep all day and forage at night beginning at dusk. At dusk there is still a little light, so it’s the best time to start!

Learn your songs – If you want to call in owls, either learn how to call yourself or get a small speaker and an ipod-like devise. Owls are very responsive to intruder calls!

Let there be light – Have a large spotlight or bright flashlight handy to search for the bird. Don’t keep the light on for too long, just enough to see your target owl.

Good luck owling!

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