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Northern Forest Owls - Coming South this Winter?

Whooooo might visit you?
© Julio Mulero View Large

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.

Full Transcript

Transcript: 

BirdNote®  

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 [49933] recorded by L.J. Peyton; Northern Hawk Owl solicitation call of juvenile [138211] by G. Vyn; call of Boreal Owl [8339] 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://www.sugarloafnorthshore.org/news/?p=309

http://standardspeaker.com/owls-winter-an-irruption-1.1462225 Published: March 24, 2013

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