Having seen 5-6 Boreal Owls here at my house (near Grand Marais) over
the years, here is what I have noticed:
In the daytime, they like to perch in a conifer, 6-8 feet from the
ground and about 8-10 inches from the trunk. They are usually well
hidden, and their camouflage and size makes them difficult to spot even
if you are looking. A group of mobbing chickadees is the best signal,
but the chickadees seem to give up after a short time, so it is chancy
that you will be present when the mobbing is in progress. I spotted the
Boreal Owl that I reported on Jan 5 because of a group of mobbing
chickadees. But by the time I went back to the house to get my camera
and return (less than 10 minutes) the chickadees had given up and left.
At night, check the trees around your feeder--again, about 6-8 feet from
the ground, but with a clear view and flight path to the area under the
feeder. They also seem to like a sheltered spot, such as under a deck or
in an open woodshed. I have found that a Boreal Owl will return multiple
times to a feeder, but that they don't seem to be faithful to their
daytime roosts. In 2005 I had a Boreal Owl come to my feeder for 10
nights in a row, but I have never seen one twice in the daytime in the
same roosting spot.
Sorry to say, but as with many things birding, it is mostly luck.
On 1/27/2013 8:03 AM, Shawn Conrad wrote:
> With Boreal Owl reports turning up in Minnesota, there will be a lot of
> interest in looking for them in the next few weeks. Obviously the North
> Shore presents the best opportunity, but it seems like there's some
> consistency about the type of location these wintering birds are drawn to.
> For those of us who feel like we're looking for a needle in a haystack
> (which we basically are), I'm wondering if those of you experienced at
> finding wintering Boreal Owls could share some tips for finding them on the
> listserv. Seeing someone else's Boreal Owl find would be fun....finding my
> *own *little owl would be a real *hoot*.
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