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Owls in PA

Brian Magee , Jul 19, 2009; 08:29 p.m.

Hello all. I am trying to find a good spot in NEPA to photograph owls in the wild. I have had no luck despite the fact that I live in deleware State Forest. Does anyone have any pointers on how to best find them or locations in NEPA near Promised land State Park area? So far I have not even been lucky enough to hear one calling :( Thanks.

Responses

Kerry Grim , Jul 19, 2009; 10:49 p.m.

Are you familiar with owls at all? Likely in that area there are Saw-whet Owls, Barred Owls, Great Horned Owls and Eastern Screech-Owls. Right now would be the worst time of the year to expect to hear calls. Hearing them would only mean they are around. Likely the best way to photograph them would be to find a nest. That said, you could search forever and come up empty handed. I have seen many nests of Great Horned Owls well to the south of the Poconos, but it took many years of learning and knowing what to look for.

Finding a winter roost would be one method. But, often the birds arrived emaciated if just arriving from Canada or a tough winter. The most important thing to keep in mind is THE SAFETY OF THE OWL MUST COME FIRST. I have a friend who regulary finds owls on roost during winter. She doesn't disclose locations and I don't want to know either. Should I find them roosting, I won't disclose the location to anyone. Any responsible birders will have that attitude.

Not to be discouraging but unless you have a large knowlwedge of owls, and I suspect you do not since you asked the question, then I think I would try an easier subject.

Promised Land historically has had the highest concentration of black bears in the word. In addition, the heaviest black bears, often the weight of grizzlies. I don't think I would feel comfortable trasping around the woods after dark with the though of a 600 pound black bear possibly being in the area. Although maybe your intentions are to find owls during daylight.

Douglas Stemke , Jul 20, 2009; 11:55 p.m.

About the only thing you can do is use tapes to call them in, and that is almost certainly NOT allowed in a State Forest. If it is permitted you can purchase a caller and calls that can bring in some owls.

Carol Commins , Jul 23, 2009; 06:15 a.m.

Brian, I live at the foot of the Poconos and I purchased a book called the Eastern PA Birding & Wildlife Guide. It has a great deal of information on where to find birds, etc. I sent for mine and had to pay $10.00 shipping/handling, but it can be found a different state parks. Once I find the address I will email it to you. Carol

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