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Sunday, February 14, 2016

Owl prowling on wheels in Niagara Region

Screech Owl,  February 28, 2015 (Aline McNulty photo)

 Submitted by Carla Carlson

When I reinstated our Owl Prowls in 2013 after a fifteen year hiatus, I was not prepared for the response.

Hiring a motor coach with a washroom and repeatedly using the words “limited walking” and “lovely luncheon” seemed to have touched a chord.

Or, maybe it was just the phenomenon of social media, that I didn’t have access to in 1998, that drew in the phone calls. Three years later there is still keen interest.

We are offering another Owl Prowl & Luncheon  “with limited walking”, on February 20 and 21 and have beautiful gift certificates if you want to some for your sweeties.

Throughout the years very dedicated Owl Scouts were willing to scout for the owls ahead of time and also guide on the day of the fieldtrips. Anyone who hasn’t done it, including myself, can’t imagine the work that goes into scouting for owls.

Only a keen birder would take on the task of scouting for owls. This year they started in December and they will continue scouting until the day before our actual fieldtrip; that’s over two months of scouting.  The time and miles spent travelling hither and yon in Niagara is immense.

We’ve been so grateful for the phone calls we have received from people who have attended our previous owl prowls, calling  to invite us to private properties where their friends have  rare seldom seen Long-eared owls.  There was a lot of excitement when a good friend even had one at her birdfeeder.
In 1998 we had 21 people sign up for the Owl Prowl. We saw four species and seven owls in total, which is fabulous because of how secretive they are.

Since 2013 at least 327 people have signed up and have seen 5- 6 species and at least 13 owls per day, depending upon the day of the tour. In the past we have seen Eastern Screech, Northern Saw-whet, Snowie, Long-eared, Short-eared and Great Horned Owl on her nest.

To book a seat on the bus, call Carla at 905-562-3746 or 1-888-889-8296 www.niagaranaturetours.ca

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