Saturday night, when I finally arrived home from my part-time job at RC Willey and from a quick stop at the grocery store, while unloading the groceries I heard the hooting of a couple of Great Horned Owls down along the creek. I have been seeing them recently on my morning walks and I've been noticing a lot of white-wash on the paver sidewalks below the street lights.
I've been having a hankering to try calling owls to see what variety of species we have here at Avimor. So, last night I caved into my owl curiosity and took my Zune MP3 player loaded with all the owl sounds from BirdJam and plunked myself down at Foothills Heritage Park. Before I even played any of the calls I had two Great Horned Owls hooting away and one turned out to be sitting up high on an old dead snag just 20 yards away.
I played a wide variety of owl calls, but nothing else responded. The highway noise was still a bit overwhelming even at 9 o'clock at night, so when my bottom got too cold I determined to call owls from the comfort of my 92' Dodge Dakota pick-up truck with 345,000 miles on it. I drove up Spring Valley Creek trail to where the road ends and started playing the owl calls again. This time I was rewarded with a Western Screech-Owl returning the call. I figure it must have been about 100 yards away.
I am hoping to be able to call in Northern Saw-whet owls, Flammulated Owls, maybe even a Long-eared Owl. I think I'll need to get up a little closer to the pine-treeline to get a wider variety of species to respond. I know the folks at the IBO have been doing owl banding using the call method to lure them in. It will just take understanding the habitat, a lot of patience and experimenting.