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Northern Forest Owls - Coming South this Winter?
© Julio Mulero
Of all the surprises that winter might bring, among the most wonderful would be a grand influx of northern forest owls like this Boreal Owl. Every few years, a surprising number of owls move south from the boreal forest of Canada and Alaska into the northern tier of the United States, especially the northern Midwest. It’s likely because of a big decline in their normal rodent prey.
Northern Forest Owls: Are They Coming South This Winter?
Written by Bob Sundstrom
This is BirdNote.
[Winter wind blowing]
Of all the surprises the upcoming winter might bring, among the most wonderful would be a grand influx of northern forest owls.
[Great Gray Owl hoots]
Every few years, a surprising number of magnificent forest owls move south from the boreal forest of Canada and Alaska into the northern tier of states, especially the northern Midwest. It’s likely because of a big decline in their normal rodent prey.
Huge Great Gray Owls, more than two feet tall with intense yellow eyes. [Great Gray Owl hoots] Northern Hawk Owls, long-tailed and streamlined, hunting from an open perch like a falcon. [Northern Hawk Owl juvenile whistles] And shy Boreal Owls, [Boreal Owl hoots] hardly ever seen unless they show up in someone’s backyard or the neighborhood park during one of these special winters. [Boreal Owl hoots]
Birders call these owl-laden winter events “flight years” or “invasions,” while scientists call them irruptions – movements of large numbers of birds after the breeding season into areas beyond their normal range. February of 2013 delivered a sensational owl irruption to northern Minnesota. Many irruption years are followed by what is known as an “echo effect" -- another, if somewhat smaller, influx of northern owls.
[Boreal Owl hoots]
Will this be an echo year? Stay tuned!
[Great Gray Owl hoots]
Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Great Grey Owl hoot  recorded by L.J. Peyton; Northern Hawk Owl solicitation call of juvenile  by G. Vyn; call of Boreal Owl  C. Koenig.
Wind Nature SFX Essentials 4 recorded by Gordon Hempton of QuietPlanet.com.
BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2014 Tune In to Nature.org December 2016 Narrator: Mary McCann.
ID# owl-06-2013-12-06 owl-06
http://standardspeaker.com/owls-winter-an-irruption-1.1462225 Published: March 24, 2013