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Owl Study

by Dan Hartman

March 16, 2022

     Well, the 2022 Boreal Owl Study is suddenly one third over and I have very little to show for it.

     I went out last night for only the sixth time.  Why have I not gone out more often?


     It's been so windy and stormy, I can't hear the forest sounds.  My first 5 times I heard only 5 songs.  And those were mostly nice nights, so things haven't been going well in the owl dept. anyway.  But, I still have hope as I'm entering the prime time.  (The last 2 weeks of March.)

     Anyway last night was far from perfect, condition wise, but sometimes you've got to play with the cards dealt you.

     At Post#1  the sky was cloudy, covering up the half moon.  I could have easily heard an owl if one was singing.  But the woods gave only silence.

      Post#1.5 It's been quiet here so far, but I gave it some extra time because it has been good in past years.  Good thing I hesitated.  Up from the creek side I detected a quiet call.  In the next minute it grew louder then changed into a prolonged song.  This means he's attracted a mate!

     I listened for a time.  He was still calling when I moved on.

     Post#2 The wind was howling.  I had no chance.

     Post#3 The wind continued.  I thought I was hearing something, but just couldn't be sure.

     Post#3.5  It's starting to snow and the wind is still present.  Nothing.

     Post#4  I've heard an owl here 3 of my last 4 nights out, and even though the snow and wind made listening difficult, I still heard him on the streamside.  This is starting to look promising.

     Post#5  It's turned into  a snowstorm.  I think if he was calling, I still could have heard him as the nest site isn't far into the woods.  But nothing.

     Post#6 I stood in the wind and snow hoping he might call close in, but nothing.

     Post#7  Storm continued and heard nothing.

     I pulled into my driveway at Post#8 knowing I might as well give up as the storm continued.

     I stood for a while by our woodpile watching the snow under our outdoor light.  Suddenly I realized there was a rhythm to the night.  It was a boreal calling from the northeast.  Probably 200 yards off.

     With a month or so to go, I might be able to salvage something good out of this season still.


Boreal Owl