by Dan Hartman
March 16, 2022
Well, the 2022 Boreal Owl Study is suddenly one third over and I have very little to show for it.
I went out last night for only the sixth time. Why have I not gone out more often?
It's been so windy and stormy, I can't hear the forest sounds. My first 5 times I heard only 5 songs. And those were mostly nice nights, so things haven't been going well in the owl dept. anyway. But, I still have hope as I'm entering the prime time. (The last 2 weeks of March.)
Anyway last night was far from perfect, condition wise, but sometimes you've got to play with the cards dealt you.
At Post#1 the sky was cloudy, covering up the half moon. I could have easily heard an owl if one was singing. But the woods gave only silence.
Post#1.5 It's been quiet here so far, but I gave it some extra time because it has been good in past years. Good thing I hesitated. Up from the creek side I detected a quiet call. In the next minute it grew louder then changed into a prolonged song. This means he's attracted a mate!
I listened for a time. He was still calling when I moved on.
Post#2 The wind was howling. I had no chance.
Post#3 The wind continued. I thought I was hearing something, but just couldn't be sure.
Post#3.5 It's starting to snow and the wind is still present. Nothing.
Post#4 I've heard an owl here 3 of my last 4 nights out, and even though the snow and wind made listening difficult, I still heard him on the streamside. This is starting to look promising.
Post#5 It's turned into a snowstorm. I think if he was calling, I still could have heard him as the nest site isn't far into the woods. But nothing.
Post#6 I stood in the wind and snow hoping he might call close in, but nothing.
Post#7 Storm continued and heard nothing.
I pulled into my driveway at Post#8 knowing I might as well give up as the storm continued.
I stood for a while by our woodpile watching the snow under our outdoor light. Suddenly I realized there was a rhythm to the night. It was a boreal calling from the northeast. Probably 200 yards off.
With a month or so to go, I might be able to salvage something good out of this season still.