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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Northern Saw-whet Owl at Scotia Range

Northern Saw-whet Owl
Image Credit: Jim Weaver, All About Birds

Last week I received a tip from another birder that a Northern Saw-whet Owl (presumably a migrant) was heard near the rifle range at Scotia Barrens. I went out there last night to investigate. I brought along my recorder and parabola to capture a recording if possible. The weather seemed good for owls - it was about 42 degrees, clear and calm. The moon was near its first quarter. Adding to my optimism was the fact that I had heard two other owls (Great Horned and a Barred) at other locations on the same day.

I arrived at Scotia around 6:45 pm. I parked near the iron gate at the rifle range. After walking around a bit, I thought I heard a bark, so I played the Saw-whet calls from the Stokes CD (including toots, barks and wails). I got no response. 20 minutes passed. I moved down past the gate to the skeet range. I played the Saw-whet call and was able to get the owl to toot back. I got a crappy recording, but the owl sounded distant and I had a plane overhead. After a few minutes, I heard some wails back by the gate. I went back and played the CD again. The owl wailed again and then barked 3 times. It seemed fairly close by, but it was not vocalizing particularly loud. Either way, I captured both the wailing and barking on my recorder.


Drew said...

The are good at throwing their voices, so it may have been very close. If this rain ever clears off I will have to head out there. We are getting near the end of their spring migration I believe so it might be worth periodically checking up on it to see if it sticks around

Sheila said...


What a nerd you are!
My family are visiting State College on 06/29-06/30. If you want to meet up w/us, please shoot me an e-mail.