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.

Bruce Stahly
Grand Marais

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*.
> Thanks!

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