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Old 09-09-2009, 09:04 AM   #21
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Greenman - nice owl video. Quietman - dancing owls?!?!?!? too funny!
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Old 09-09-2009, 12:02 PM   #22
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I love going owling! It certainly helps if you are accompanied by people that have the ability to remain quiet (trying with my kids is, well, trying ) I use recorded calls, but see why it could be unethical as Green Man stated. It depends on the action after locating them. Great posts! I love all raptors!!!
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Old 09-09-2009, 10:20 PM   #23
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I was looking for snakes the other night and it was starting to get dark. An owl hooted at me a few times before taking off overhead (great horned owl). It was too dark to see the owl in the trees, but I got to see it fly. I've had the most luck getting daytime photos when they are nesting.
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Old 09-11-2009, 01:02 AM   #24
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I had one on my mailbox in 2006. There it was sitting on my mailbox when we came home one night late. I was surprised to get such a good take on his size. He dwarfed my mailbox at about 2' tall.
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Old 09-11-2009, 02:35 PM   #25
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Talking about size- it is kind of fun to ask kids how much they think an owl or eagle weighs. They are really shocked when you tell them that a GHOW only weighs about 3 pounds! They usually guess 20-50 lbs!
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Old 09-12-2009, 10:50 PM   #26
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That's what most adults guess them at too.
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Old 09-13-2009, 08:37 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by havalotta View Post
Is your intent to capture just night photos of them or daytime photos as well?
Both. I think both situations will be challenging, as the owls are not easy to find during the day and when they are active at night, that poses the low light challenges for photographing them.

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Old 09-13-2009, 08:58 AM   #28
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owl What I've learned so far

Hi all!

I've been doing a lot of research, and some additional experiments. Sorry for the long delay, I don't call the owls too often or they might actually get scared off (as midwesternerr pointed out, a territorial response) so I only call them every few weeks. Also, no calling during breeding season as it can cause them to neglect their brooding duties. But that's not till next spring. So far, I've had tremendous success calling the Eastern Screech Owls. Other owls in my area:

Great Horned Owl: Calls must be going to voicemail
Barn Owl: See GHO response
Northern Saw Whet Owl: See GHO response
Barred Owl: See GHO response
Snowy Owl: Not here until winter

Granted that most of my focus has been on the screech owl as they seem most responsive. It turns out that barn owls are becoming rare in my county due to habitat destruction (barns and other buildings, strangely enough).

My next step is to construct a "raptor" perch that I can install speakers and a playback device on. I'll position my photo equipment in front of the stand, under a camo blind, and use a wireless remote to activate. I'm not sure how quickly I'll get that done, with all the fall gardening chores I seem to be working on. I'm in no rush, and the owls don't seem to be going anywhere!

I'm also considering installing a screech owl house and barn owl house early next spring. I'll see how that goes.

Looking at taking pictures at night, there don't appear to be many reported issues of owl injuries due to flash photography. Many pro photographers liken it to being no worse than random flashes of lightning. So while some might disapprove, I plan on using a flash to capture them on the rapture perch after sunset.

I've also spent a fair amount of time learning how to find them during the day. It appears that one way is to listen for blue jays or crows (a murder perhaps) making a racket. It CAN mean they are trying to intimidate an owl (or other raptor)to leave a particular area.

I don't expect any Snowy Owls until this winter, where they sometimes migrate this far south, especially if there is a "Lemming Crash" in the Great White North. Several of my local associates have reported seeing them in this area, so I will keep my eyes peeled. (NOTE: Another photographic challenge, a white owl on snow, can we please add a few more challenges?!?!?)

Also, I've started looking for owl pellets beneath likely roosts, as they tend to habitually occupy the same spaces during the day. Roosts will typically have plenty of "white" stuff both on the tree and the ground.

I've read that if you've had several rainy nights in a row, you can spot them earlier in the evening (before the sun goes down) as they aren't very water repellent and dislike being in the rain. It follows that after several nights they are REALLY hungry and start early. The other benefit of rain is that it brings out amphibians, another owl menu item.

Lastly, I've found some fantastic snags in my woods where they may be relaxing during the day. Guess I'm going to have to camp out at a few of these and see if I can catch them peeking out from time to time.

Here are a few photos of owls from a nature preserve I visited. These birds, for one reason or another, cannot be returned to the wild.

Screech Owl
Starting my "Owl" journey-screech-owl.jpg

Great Horned Owl
Starting my "Owl" journey-great-horned-owl.jpg

Barn Owl
Starting my "Owl" journey-barn-owl.jpg

Snowy Owl
Starting my "Owl" journey-snowy-owl.jpg

Will update everyone on my progress from time to time. Here's a video of owling gone bad, an owl attack.

Quietman

P.S. Owl trivia: A group of owls has many collective nouns, including a "bazaar", "glaring", "parliament", "stooping", and "wisdom" of owls
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Old 09-13-2009, 09:22 AM   #29
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Lesson learned: NEVER "dis" the owl. (I have been looking for an excuse to use this smiley.)

Entertaining video, Quiet. Thank you for including it. Great research, too. You have ambitious plans that I admire. And, as usual, you make me want to stay tuned.
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Old 09-14-2009, 02:21 AM   #30
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If you start running into alot of owl pellets would you set them aside for me? I could use 20 more. That video of the owl going after the camera was funny. If the word owl attack wasn't there I wouldn't have known it was going to try to nail her.
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