I'm going to ask a couple of questions about these owls that I am probably
not the only person out there wondering about:
A. What about those of us that have seen Long-eared Owls in our "birding
careers", and have seen them just by accident? I suppose we were "harming"
B. Why do we single out these owls for this special treatment? What about
all of those people that trekked to see the Kingbirds, Flycatchers and other
rarities in the area? Are we not stressing them as well?
I've seen Long-eared Owls before, and quite frankly, I want to see them
again. And not just because of a "tick" (I hate that term). I want to see
them as many times as I can before their habitat is gone and they are here
on this planet no more. It really shames me that I am a part of a society
that "celebrates" the comeback of species like Bald Eagles, when it was us
that nearly HUNTED them to extinction.
As far as those more "knowledgeable folks than me" that say, "we are
probably disturbing a pair that want to breed", I think we are guilty of
this almost everywhere we go to bird. What about those that DRIVE their
cars on Padre Island in Texas, where Snowy Plovers breed, while these
stressed birds are breeding?
>From: Gerald & Laura Tarbell <>
>Reply-To: Gerald & Laura Tarbell <>
>Subject: [MDOSPREY] Long-eared owls
>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
>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
>are some more interesting facts:
>BREEDING: Conifer and mixed conifer-deciduous forest, especially near
>occasionally deciduous forest, also parks, orchards, farm woodland. 1
>brood. Mating system is monogamous
>DISPLAYS: Courtship: male flies in erratic zigzag with deep, slow
>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.
> Jerry Tarbell
> Carroll County
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