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Have you ever seen a “northern” owl?

posted by Jerry Liguori at
on Thursday, December 23, 2010 

I recommend anyone who loves birds take a trip north and witness a Hawk Owl, Snowy Owl, or Great Gray Owl in "person". These birds are truly amazing sights in the wild....much more fantastic than they are in photographs! The type of sighting that invokes spontaneous hugs and high-fives. Luckily, they are quite tame and allow you to approach within mere yards, they may even grab a mouse and swallow it right in front of you without ever acknowledging your presence. By far, my most memorable sighting of one of these northern owls was in the spring of 2000. I was counting hawks at Whitefish Point, Michigan and a Hawk Owl was gliding high up in the sky with a bunch of Red-tailed and Rough-legged Hawks. As I was watching it, the owl gave a raspy, screeching call and proceeded to harass a Rough-legged Hawk before moving north and out of sight. Oh, I forgot to mention....the count of 525 migrant Rough-legged Hawks that day was equally memorable!

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Blogger Jeff Bilsky said...

I have never seen a northern owl, but can't wait to do so. There is something incredible about all owls; ill be posting some thoughts about them on an upcoming blog.

December 24, 2010 at 2:14 PM  
Blogger Tim Avery said...

Northern owls are pretty awesome. In January 2005 I drove from southern Wisconsin to Sax-Zim Bog, Minnesota for what was one of the largest irruptions of Boreal species into the area in history. Great Gray Owl and Northern Hawk-Owl were easy to find, and photograph. That winter also brought Boreal Owls, and both species of Redpolls south in decent numbers.

Great Gray Owl Photos

In 2007 there was another irruption south, and a Northern Hawk-Owl ended up near Rexburg, Idaho--about the closest this species has ever been to Utah. It was well worth the drive for being able to watch one so closely:

Northern Hawk-Owl Photos

December 24, 2010 at 4:24 PM  
Anonymous Jerry Liguori said...

Great photos Tim. Next time a Hawk Owl is nearby, bring me along. The one I posted above is from Alaska. Sax-zim was always great, even on non-invasion years...but 2005 was the mother lode, glad you went to see it.


December 25, 2010 at 1:48 PM  

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