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Owling experience?

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Old Saturday 28th November 2009, 03:14   #1
ddallasnc
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Owling experience?

I have never been owling at night. Any hints? I am in south Texas.
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Old Saturday 28th November 2009, 21:06   #2
ovenbird43
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get yourself a big flashlight (like a large maglight) and visit some places, walking around quietly to listen for owls. i would highly recommend Bentson Rio Grande State Park, I've visited a couple of times- there is a high concentration of Eastern Screech Owls there, though that doesn't mean they're easy to see! There are also Great Horned and Barn Owls, Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls, and in the summer Elf Owls. Also a good place for Paraques.

Seeing an owl at night takes patience and luck- but is well worth it!
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Old Monday 30th November 2009, 14:06   #3
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Don't expect to see anything! Just kidding- you can see owls at night but it might take some effort in addition to the suggestions of Ovenbird43. It seems like some nights you get lucky right away and on others absolutely nothing. The cool thing about getting out at night in any case is that you will see all sorts of arthropods and maybe see some herps too. One tactic that has worked for me is to kiss the back of hand to make squeeky mouse noises. Do it with the light off, then search for the owl with the flashlight once you see a shape fly in.
Good luck and let us know what you find!
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Old Monday 30th November 2009, 16:45   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Birdingcraft View Post
One tactic that has worked for me is to kiss the back of hand to make squeeky mouse noises. Do it with the light off, then search for the owl with the flashlight once you see a shape fly in.
I had that work quite well for me once- I slowly approached an area with a calling Eastern Screech-Owl, then I hunkered down behind a bush and waited for a few minutes. Then I made the squeaky noises, and soon after the owl flew right overhead, practically touching my head! It was so cool. The key is to hide and wait a few minutes before trying it.
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Old Monday 30th November 2009, 17:08   #5
Steve Babbs
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Don't do what someone I went looking for Eastern Screech Owl with did, take huge amounts of drugs and giggle constantly.

More seriously be prepared for many blank times and if there's anyone nearby at least one person coming up and asking you what you're doing.
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Old Tuesday 1st December 2009, 03:41   #6
ddallasnc
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RE: Owling experience

Thank you all for the good advice. I did go owling the night after I started the thread but did not see anything (except deer, raccoons, and feral cats). I will try owling again making the mouse sounds and see what happens. I saw someone somewhere suggest rubbing a piece of Styrofoam against a piece of glass as well for the mouse sounds. A person at work said being more inland there might be more luck too. I think my best bet around here would be for a Great Horned Owl or a Barred Owl . I am not as sure about Screech Owls. I did see the orange eyes of a bird on the ground that then flew up into a tree about 50 yards away ... but I think that must have been a night hawk (Common Pauraque) as I know those are in the area where I was.
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