Thursday, 3-19-09 - North Woods
It was a stressful evening for both us and the owls. Dusk brought a young Red-tailed Hawk who ate a bird in view of the female's roost. Needless to say, she didn't come out of her cavity at the normal hour.
In addition to the hawk, an owl tour leader played recordings again, disturbing the owls and drawing the male from his normal wake up and preening area to a bright, street lamp lit, road.
As usual, rather than waiting for the owls to naturally fly out and wake up, the leader played the recordings too early. Once the leader had the owls he couldn't just naturally follow them, he had to loudly play his recording over and over again.
The recordings, which signal an intruder, are highly recommended against by the American Birding Association's Ethics Guidelines.
Because of the intrusive methods of the owl leader, the group didn't get to witness the fantastic behaviors we've seen over the last few weeks. Once the tour group left, the birds settled down and began to hunt on the lawn south of the bypass road and north of the North Meadow ball fields. There must have been some tasty worms or insects in the lawn after the rain storm.