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Friday, January 17, 2014

On the Prowl for Owls

Sunset @ Bucktoe Creek Preserve
Winter is a great time to look and listen for owls, especially between January and March for it is prime breeding season. Winter conditions are also helpful because the leaves are off the trees. Although, owls mostly roost in conifers for this reason, it is easier to see them flying by or perched on a limb when the leaves are absent. Seeing is the key. Owls has a unique ability to fly silently. The serrations on their leading feathers reduce noise. This enables them to hunt in the still of the night, but also makes it hard for us to see!

TLC held our first owl prowl of 2014 on Thursday night at Bucktoe Creek Preserve. We watched a beautiful sunset followed by a rising full moon through our scope and then headed off to the pine forest to listen for owls. No calls or sounds were heard at first, other than deer snorts warning others of our presence, but as we headed back a strange sound came echoing through the brush about 50 yards away. It was an uncharacteristic call of a Barred Owl. At first it sounded like a fox at night (if you know what I'm talking about, you understand how alarming that can be), but as the call went on it was clearly a Barred Owl. It was one long and continuous note, and that was all he/she wrote.

Resident Barred Owls of Bucktoe Creek Preserve.
Photo take by Timothy Zador.
Wildlife is unpredictable and we can never guarantee to see or hear owls on these prowls, but I think that is what keeps owls so mysterious and interesting. For folks new to owl prowls or for those looking to experience another exciting night on the preserve, contact education@tlcforscc.org for information on our next owl prowl. TLC's next nature program, Wildlife in Winter Series, will be held Sunday, January 26th from 12pm - 1:30pm. You can register by
clicking here!


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