Thursday, August 31, 2017

Owling In Boulder County

August 29-30, 2017

Richard Stevens:

Terry Michaels and I went owling in Boulder County.  I have wanted this trip for quite a while; other trips have taken up my time.  Early August is better owling as the adults will give contact calls to keep in touch with their offspring. 

We did okay for late August.  By the way, the biggest problem is finding some where to park to avoid getting a ticket.  Years ago, I made a deal with one of the local residents to park in their driveway!  Thanks much Adrian!

Along our trek, we also put out our "owl listening stations".  These are dual CD/DVD players, one set to play and the other to record.  A CD with owl calls spaced at intervals and the other CD is noise activated to capture any responses.  The bigger expense was the $250 software to analyze the recorded CDs so that we do not have to listen to them (some DVDs are recording for 2-4 hours).

Northern Pygmy-Owls usually do not call continuously as they do in spring when looking for a mate.  They do have short contact calls.

Northern Saw-whet Owls usually do not call at all.  They will approach a call and sit nearby the recording.  In most cases, we must observe any sightings.

Eastern Screech-Owls will respond quite a long time to a recording.  Boreal Owls have similar behavior.  Flammulated Owls approach and may give a short contact call.

These have been my experiences for years and have worked well in contacting and finding the above species.  Others have published different results?

One additional note:  Originally, we had three setups.  This night an animal destroyed one of our "owl listening stations" (ols).  If it was a bear, we were quite happy to miss seeing it!

Our owl count and source this evening was the following (some of the locations we are making as vague as possible to protect the owls).

Walden Ponds: Eastern Screech-Owl (1) (ols)
Sawhill Ponds: possible Lewis's Woodpecker heard while setting up
Bobolink Trail: Northern Pygmy-Owl (ols)
St. Vrain: Long-eared Owl (2) heard by us, one seen flying in dim light
Old St. Vrain: Northern Pygmy-Owl (found by us)
Highway 7, west of Lyons: Northern Pygmy-Owl (ols) (destroyed box, DVD saved)
Highway 7, west of Lyons: Northern Saw-whet Owl (we sat for two hours, one approached our recordings)
Highway 7, Northern Pygmy-Owl (2, Raymond & Allenspark)

Considering that we did not sit for long times at several locations where Northern Saw-whet Owls have been found, we were happy with one sighting.

We were not in Flammulated Owl or Boreal Owl habitat this night.
Greenlee Preserve, Pella Crossing Park: no owl encounters

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