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Subject:

Long-eared owls

From:

Gerald & Laura Tarbell

Reply-To:

Gerald & Laura Tarbell

Date:

Mon, 12 Mar 2007 15:20:36 -0500

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
feeding.
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.

    Jerry Tarbell
    Carroll County