Saturday, April 19, 2014 Western Screech Owls!

Seward, Alaska

A pair of vocalizing WESTERN SCREECH OWLS was reported on Wednesday, April 16, and verified on Thursday evening by sight and sound in the Lost Lake Subdivision north of Seward. I drove around the subdivision on Friday night from about 9 to 10:15 pm, parking, listening and walking. I thought I heard GREAT HORNED OWLS at various locations, hooting from a distance above the noise of traffic and rushing streams, but no Western Screech Owls. Many VARIED THRUSHES rang out, no doubts there!

On the way home, I decided to check out the location on Exit Glacier Road where the screech owl was found in March of 2005. (Thanks, Todd E., for the records). I parked by the 40 mph sign, 1.5 miles past the first bridge, and got out. In this peaceful and wild location, I heard the distinctive "bouncing ball" call of the owl not far away! Another owl answered in the distance across the road. It was so exciting to hear these birds again. I hope they stay and nest!

Today, I asked the Lost Lake Subdivision birder if the owls had been heard on Friday night; no, they had not. It is possible there are more than two, but reports will have to be correlated to date and time to try to figure it out. If you hear them, please let me know.

As for etiquette, PLEASE do not use electronic devices or voice imitations to call them in. If they are there, you will hear them. Please do not disturb their critical territory establishment, courtship, and feeding routines by causing them react to a perceived intruder for your convenience. If we are careful to observe without disturbance, we may be lucky to not only have them establish residency here, but also to raise a family.

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

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