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Long-eared Owl at Oatka Creek

Published January 04, 2014
Tags: Life List Happenings, Long-eared Owl, Junco, Tufted Titmouse, House Sparrow, Red-bellied Woodpecker

After enduring the icy winds along the Niagara River this morning, Celeste and I decided to "ditch the river" in pursuit of the re-found Long-eared Owl at Oatka Creek. A big shout out to Jim Adams, who not only found the bird a few days ago, but who was wonderful in assisting us in finding it. We were just thrilled to see this gorgeous owl - especially me, I think - because it was a life bird that I've been really, really wanting for about 4 years now.

Long-eared Owls are generally pretty secretive but in winter, several numbers of them are known to nest in thickets. Their ears, like many owls, are asymmetrically placed, with the left ear opening higher than the right. This better enables the owl to locate its prey by sound - giving them an almost 3-D sound, as it were.

As we were en route to the owl, Celeste played the Long-eared Owl sound to help us familiarize ourselves with it. I expected something more bass and deep sounding, but it was a surprisingly higher, shorter, one-syllable "hooooooot".  We never did hear our owl hoot, though, probably because Long-eareds are typically quiet birds.  The males, however, get a little more verbal during mating season, which begins very soon, by the way.

Other birds seen today: Lesser and Great Black-backed Gulls, Peregrine Falcon, Bald Eagle, American Kestrel, Red-tailed Hawk (many!), Canvasback, Redhead, White-winged Scoter, Common Goldeneye, Greater Scaup, Red-breasted Merganser, Common Merganser, and Bufflehead.
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Reply from: Tim on 1/6/2014 12:02 PM
 What a beauty Sue! I will have to make my way over there as I have yet to see a Long -eared