I am going to admit some ignorance as to the owls we have been viewing. I
thought they were probably migrating thru and were not likely to stay here.
That's because I never bothered to consult my only Owl book. Although it is
dated, -Alcorn, 1986 - it says and I quote, "It is not highly migratory and
the winter range is approximately that of the breeding range."
I have been advised by more knowledgeable folks than me that we are
probably disturbing a pair that want to breed. The fact that they keep
moving only underscores the likelihood that we are disturbing them.
With this in mind, I recommend that the tours stop. I know another tick
on a list is exciting, but I for one have decided to discontinue visiting
Morgan Run for a while. I hope others act responsibly and do the same. It
practically took somebody hitting me over the head with it.
For reference I stole the page out of Birder's Handbook on them, so here
are some more interesting facts:
BREEDING: Conifer and mixed conifer-deciduous forest, especially near water;
occasionally deciduous forest, also parks, orchards, farm woodland. 1
brood. Mating system is monogamous
DISPLAYS: Courtship: male flies in erratic zigzag with deep, slow wingbeats,
occasionally gliding and clapping wings together beneath body. Courtship
NEST: Usually in abandoned nests (especially crow, also squirrel, hawk,
magpie, heron, raven). Perennial. Rarely scrape on ground, of small
sticks, inner bark strips, pine needles. Female selects site.
EGGS: White. 1.6" (40 mm).
CHICK DEVELOPMENT: Female incubates. Incubation takes 26-28 days.
Development is semialtricial (immobile, downy, eyes closed, fed). Young are
able to fly after 23-26 days. Both sexes tend young.
DIET: Overwhelmingly rodents, rarely amphibians, reptiles, fish, insects.
Hunts over open areas, strictly nocturnal. Ejects pellets.
CONSERVATION: Winters s to c Mexico.
NOTES: Occasionally nests in loose colonies; prey density may determine
breeding density. Pair bond long-term where sedentary on year-round
territories. Male feeds incubating female. Young hatch asynchronously;
female broods. Young fly at about 34 days; parents feed them for 56-63
days. Perform distraction display in groups when colonial. Family unit
retained perhaps until winter. Roosts, often communally, in dense cover,
less often in caves, rock crevices.
Copyright © 1988 by Paul R. Ehrlich, David S. Dobkin, and Darryl Wheye.