Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Klamath Marsh Owls

Last week I spent several nights down at the Klamath Marsh National Wildlife Refuge hooting for owls. One night was spent scouting for an owl prowl that was part of the Winter Wings Festival. The other night and early morning was the Owl Prowl.

Conditions were perfect for owling - clear and calm. Some background noise from geese honking in the marsh did not distract us. Traffic was light, about one vehicle every 2 hours.

Though we got the expected pairs of dueting great horned owls and northern saw-whet owls, it was a treat to hear other owls, as well. Long-eared, northern pygmy, western screech- and great gray owls were heard on one or both of the nights.

Great horned owl


The great gray was a target bird that has nested down in the refuge. For some, it was their first sighting and first time hearing the owls call. Their rhythmic deep hoots are unmistakable. We even heard the females doing a contact call that sounded like whoooPP!

As part of the Owl Prowl, we heard 20 owls of the 6 species. Pretty good night for hearing diversity and some numbers.