2013 and beyond

It's pretty simple: the most birds seen or heard from one's yard during 2013 will be the "winner". Want in? O.k....then do it despite that.

2013 promises to be a lot less mean but still a carbon-free birding competition, even if slightly less exciting than a MEGA x EPIC hybrid.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Closer than I thought?

So in my attempt to keep up with the Big Dogs on this blog, I have been making daily (nightly!) attempts at all conceivable species for which I think I have a better than zero chance of getting. This has included Saw-whet and Long-eared Owl (yes, I am crazy, I know) tape-playing at night on calm, clear evenings. When doing this I point the speaker directly westbound toward a small (0.1-0.2 acre) pine plantation 500 feet west of my house. So far no luck. Note: I have also been checking for whitewash and pellets in this plantation since winter, without luck.

So, yesterday I took my daughter and the neighborhood kids over to the pines and was fairly shocked to find a small pellet plus a very small amount of whitewash. Analysis yielded at least 1 rodent prey (and possibly a shrew pelvis, but not sure) in the pellet, and its dimensions were consistent with only Saw-whet or Eastern Screech. Although EASO is here, it is actually 500 feet east of my property, and I wouldn't expect it to hang out in the conifer thicket anyway, so I think it almost certainly came from a migrating Saw-whet. Needless to say, even I am surprised I have been this close to having Saw-whet in my yard. I will keep checking for the roosting bird and continue playing tapes at night. If I get it, it will certainly be added to the rarity sidebar!


  1. For this one I have to remind myself of the motto "The more pissing and moaning the better."

    While I love the initiative here (the chart is awesome) the logic seems a little flat. Why couldn't a EASO have tucked into a conifer stand to hunt voles or take advantage of the cover? It's not like they are allergic to confers.

    Now that I've razzed you -- your almost guaranteed to one now. You're welcome.

  2. Well, it could have. But I am going on context here. First, I have been checking that grove for over a year now and have failed to find a single pellet until now, despite there being EASO nearby the entire time. EASO also clearly prefer, and in my experience, spend most of their time in deciduous canopy woodland, inc. roosting and hunting. Whereas NSWO prefer thick conifer when available, but will use deciduous tangles if necessary. So, do I know it was NSWO- no way. Do I think that is more likely than EASO - probably. Hopefully I'll just get a response to my tape playing for NSWO one of these nights and put it to rest...

  3. From what I understand, certain owl banding ops in Ontario include those basically surrounding by ag but with isolated conifer wind breaks. Blasting tape lures NSWO down into nets for fairly high capture rates. Keep it up, you just might get one to respond.

  4. hummm, that gives me an idea...


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