Thursday, December 9, 2010


Funny thing, yesterday on the way home from work, I spotted a Short-eared Owl hunting alongside a back road.  Later that evening, Dean Ware reported seeing one down his way.  I never saw one all of last winter, even though I keep my eyes open.  They prefer pasture areas, but pastures are a rare commodity anymore.  There used to be lots north of Wallaceburg.  No wonder grassland species are severely declining!
I had my camera with me, but not ready.  Too late in the day anyway.

When I first started birding we used to go out on winter outings and owls were always part of the trip.  One time we came across an injured Short-eared Owl.  I think it was the first time I had ever seen one.  It was taken to a rehab somewhere.  This was back in the 1980's.

Once in a while you luck on to Short-eared Owls, as was the case a couple of winters ago NE of Wallaceburg.  I was heading up to a spot to look for Long-eared Owls, but I caught sight of one on a fencepost beside the road at two in the afternoon!  Turns out there were around a dozen there and they stayed for several weeks.  That pasture disappeared that follwing spring!

The Long-eared usually roost in pine trees, but not always.  I found some NE of Wallaceburg one winter.

We have Screech Owls here in Wallaceburg.  They have always been here and I remember them when I was about two or three years old.  No kidding!  They roosted on the fenceposts at dusk in the backyard.  I still hear some occassionly, especially in the summer.  Sometimes, the young ones will roost in the backyard cedars.  I haven't seen young ones in a  couple of years, but here is a photo of a family.

It was interesting to watch them at dusk as the parents fed them earthworms.

There are other owls especially seen in the winter.  The only Boreal Owl I have seen was near Exeter one winter (on private property).

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