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Will Owls attack
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TallOaks



Joined: 07 May 2008
Posts: 3
Location: South Central Indiana

PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 3:38 am    Post subject: Will Owls attack Reply with quote

Hello,
I live in an area that sounds heavily populated with owls; I hear them all around from dusk to early morning. I've downloaded several of the calls I found on the internet to my computer so I could try to identify what I was hearing outside. Last night I went outside and started playing the calls to see what would happen. Almost immediately, two barred owls flew by and landed in the trees above me. I sort of panicked, and did not play the calls anymore. I guess I didn't expect such a close-up response. My questions is, was I wrong to use the calls, and if not, is it possible or likely that an owl would attack a person who is using calls? Thank you.
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theowlette
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Joined: 02 Dec 2005
Posts: 461
Location: California

PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 5:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You don't know how lucky you are! People come here for advice on how to see owls in the wild, and you were able to see them! Owls have been known to attack, but only if they feel you are a threat to their nests. I've never heard of anyone being attacked because they used an owl call.
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TallOaks



Joined: 07 May 2008
Posts: 3
Location: South Central Indiana

PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 12:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is very exciting then! I'll try some different calls and see what I can bring in. I've seen a Great Horned Owl a few miles from my home and also believe that screech owls are indiginous to the area. Thank you for your reply. I feel a little more safe. I guess they were just investigating.
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theowlette
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Joined: 02 Dec 2005
Posts: 461
Location: California

PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 1:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From my little knowledge of Indiana, I believe you also have long eared owls and possible saw-whets, as well as GHO, barred, and eastern screech owls. I know Owlboy will give you more information when he sees this post!
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owlboy
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Joined: 19 Mar 2006
Posts: 1343
Location: Albany, NY, USA

PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 1:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome to the forum.

Playing owl calls is a common way of surveying owls. They will often come to investigate who is in their territory. Barred Owls are very curious, so it doesn't surprise me that they came. It is unusual for two to come at once. One had to be the male and the other was a female. If both were males, then they would have a territory dispute. Usually on the male comes.

If you are going to play owl calls, start with the smallest owl first. When you don't get a response, move to the next larger owl. For example, start with a Screech Owl, then move to the Barred Owl, and finally with a Great-Horned Owl. Also, try not to lure then into or near traffic. A lot of owls die from car impacts.

You can also use a flash light to look at them at night. The lights will not bother them.

I am sure that a lot of people would be envious of your situation. We have so many who struggle to find one owl.

In regards to owls attacking you. Most owls just come to investigate who is in their territory. I don't recommend you using calls of chicks, mice, or other prey. Otherwise, they can try to "steal" the prey from you. Some people have been injured over the years by using their own voice, but it is very rare. Try to use a CD player instead of your owl voice. Also try not to use owl calls very close to their nest site.
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TallOaks



Joined: 07 May 2008
Posts: 3
Location: South Central Indiana

PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 8:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for all the helpful information! I live in a very unique rural lake community. Our neighborhood is very small with only one private road in and no major roads within 5 miles. We are surrounded mainly by a dense hardwood forest with some conifer thickets and grassy fields, some of our surrounding neighbors have their properties classified as nature and wildlife preserves. Gee, now I plan on spending more time outside at night with my owl calls and a flashlight. I'm so excited! I'm glad to have found the Owl Pages community. In the past few days I've read many interesting posts on owling. Hopefully, I will be able to share this knowledge and hobby with my neighbors!
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owlboy
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Joined: 19 Mar 2006
Posts: 1343
Location: Albany, NY, USA

PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 9:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Water and deep forest almost aways yields Barred Owls. They are nesting right now, and you can usually find the nest within 200 feet of water. If you listen at night to the male and female hooting their 8-hoot call, this will give you and idea of where the nest is. The female usually stays at the nest.

They usually nest in a tree cavity of 7 inches or larger, and will use the same nest the rest of their lives. So, once you find it, you can revisit it year-after-year. I do have to warn about approaching a Barred Owl nest. While Barred Owls are very mild mannered, they can be quite aggressive when defending their nest. Their owlets should be about to branch or have already branched. If you find the owlets running along the forest floor, make sure you just leave them. Their parents are around, even if you can't see them. When they have conifers around, they will use them.

If you would like to build a Barred Owl house, I can send you some very good plans for one. Just PM me with your Email address.

Screech owls usually like to nest next to fields, just inside the tree line. But, they will nest in deep forest also. They generally nest in tree cavities 3 inches or larger.

Great-Horned Owls will nest anywhere, and use an open nest, like a hawks nest.

In all cases, owls nest and stay where the food is. If you have lots of mice, voles, rabbits, squirrels, birds, etc, then you will find owls.

If you get some pictures, please share. We always like to see pictures.
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Strix Struma



Joined: 02 Apr 2007
Posts: 62
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2008 11:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

YOU ARE SOOOOOO LUCKY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! please take pics if at all possible!!! we (at least me) would also love sound recordings!!! videos are great too.... Laughing good luck! Cool
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LEStanley



Joined: 22 May 2008
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 8:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What a lovely idea!

There are a lot of barn and tawny owls around here (Britain so no barred wols!) and I lie in bed listening to them late at night. I find if I "call" to them they - for some strange reason - don't need to hear me call them to respond. I don't have any calls or anything - I just seem to connect with them on a spiritual level and they answer. I've seen one flap across the road at dusk and it is amazing when they show themselves because they are such shy and beautiful creatures.

Just perhaps be careful only to observe and not to poke them or pester them physically. Any owl, even the smaller ones, can be quite vicious when provoked. There are a lot of videos showing kids poking owls in the face or ears, and owls have been known to attack in the wild and rip at faces or fingers. But I know you obviously wouldn't do that so there should be no danger of them attacking.

And pictures would be lovely too!
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romillyh



Joined: 12 Mar 2006
Posts: 69
Location: London, England

PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2008 2:57 am    Post subject: flashlights and owling Reply with quote

>> You can also use a flash light to look at them at night. The lights will not bother them. << (Owlboy)

>> . . now I plan on spending more time outside at night with . . . a flashlight. << (Talloaks)

Jeepers creepers. I'd never keep a flashlight trained on an owl at night for the most obvious of reasons. If you have a torch shone in your eyes when you've got your night vision, can you see afterwards? Why should owls be any different? In fact with their highly sensitive retinas the effect may be stronger, meaning they take longer to regain full night vision. Many operate in wooded areas and have to navigate obstacles down to the smallest twigs to avoid collisions and eye injuries. Owls are blinded by bright lights, and unfortunately will stare at them. One story I heard from a rehabber is of Tawny Owls that were attracted to welding torches during construction of the French end of the Channel Tunnel. In this case the birds were permanently blinded and had to be taken into care for the rest of their lives. They were lucky. No one will know about the owl that's dazzled by an owler's flashlight, flies off into the dark and collides with something before it's recovered its night vision.

I know it's quite usual for owlers to use flashlights to find owls at night, and I've done it successfully myself. But I never keep the light trained on the owl for more than a few moments, especially if it looks in my direction.

On whether they're "bothered" or not, they certainly tend to stay around while you do this, but that's hardly an indication that their night vision isn't considerably bothered. The very fact that they do often stay perched when a light's shone on them increases the likelihood of prolonged dazzling, so a thoughtless owler could blind an owl for some time. I suspect that LED lights are particularly damaging to night vision.

Maybe there are others who know that owl eyes are physiologically different from other animals and that it's fine to shine flashlights at them at night. Well, it just doesn't make sense to me for one.

romillyh
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raptortrnr



Joined: 26 Sep 2007
Posts: 179

PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2008 2:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
there should be no danger of them attacking.


not true. many researchers who study owls wear hardhats, and not for the fashion statement.
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romillyh



Joined: 12 Mar 2006
Posts: 69
Location: London, England

PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2008 2:29 am    Post subject: owl attax Reply with quote

Quote:
many researchers who study owls wear hardhats, and not for the fashion statement


Totally agree, especially those who go near nests or recently fledged birds. For graphic illustration see

http://www.godsownclay.com/news2008.html

and go to third item down "May 24 Bird Forum member reports a Tawny Owl attack".

For an even more worrisome pic, this time of effects of an Australian Powerful Owl, see this

http://stmargaretsphotodiary.blogspot.com/2007/11/powerful-owl-warning.html

You could also search on "owl attack" on Youtube. One quite good one I've seen is on a dog:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzvgvA5NEBc

This one, by a Barred Owl*, is quite amusing though a little odd. But it shows how the owl tends to go for your face or head. Owls also play this way, bouncing on your head in mid-flight. Heaven knows why this owl was on the road. (*Edit Sep 08: Sorry, Spotted Owl.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gt7toFy-9T4

One more, and a good one: a BBC clip of a Snowy Owl doing the same thing (but in flight!) to wolves. Here the owl goes for the bum:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOqteBWgBqM

Problem is it can happen in total darkness, and as you're probably not a wolf it'll be your head. You don't see or hear the owl coming. I speak from experience. So my advice would be don't mess around with owls in any way during their breeding season.

romillyh


Last edited by romillyh on Sat Sep 06, 2008 7:23 am; edited 1 time in total
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raptortrnr



Joined: 26 Sep 2007
Posts: 179

PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2008 4:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

anyone who isn't properly wary of an owls foot has never restrained one.
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Prog Owl



Joined: 05 Jan 2008
Posts: 13
Location: Atlanta GA

PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2008 11:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

theowlette wrote:
You don't know how lucky you are! People come here for advice on how to see owls in the wild, and you were able to see them! Owls have been known to attack, but only if they feel you are a threat to their nests. I've never heard of anyone being attacked because they used an owl call.


I wish I could remember where I read this, but I did read of an account in the early '00's about an Audubon Society (somewhere in MA) doing an Owl Prowl one night, one member fo the party did a VERY realistic Barred Owl call, a little TOO realistic to the extent a Barred Owl actually flew at him and just missed. Shocked
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The Horned Hoolet



Joined: 07 Aug 2006
Posts: 93
Location: Co.Durham, NE England, UK.

PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2008 8:22 am    Post subject: Re: flashlights and owling Reply with quote

romillyh wrote:
>> You can also use a flash light to look at them at night. The lights will not bother them. << (Owlboy)

>> . . now I plan on spending more time outside at night with . . . a flashlight. << (Talloaks)

Jeepers creepers. I'd never keep a flashlight trained on an owl at night for the most obvious of reasons. If you have a torch shone in your eyes when you've got your night vision, can you see afterwards? Why should owls be any different? In fact with their highly sensitive retinas the effect may be stronger, meaning they take longer to regain full night vision. Many operate in wooded areas and have to navigate obstacles down to the smallest twigs to avoid collisions and eye injuries. Owls are blinded by bright lights, and unfortunately will stare at them. One story I heard from a rehabber is of Tawny Owls that were attracted to welding torches during construction of the French end of the Channel Tunnel. In this case the birds were permanently blinded and had to be taken into care for the rest of their lives. They were lucky. No one will know about the owl that's dazzled by an owler's flashlight, flies off into the dark and collides with something before it's recovered its night vision.

I know it's quite usual for owlers to use flashlights to find owls at night, and I've done it successfully myself. But I never keep the light trained on the owl for more than a few moments, especially if it looks in my direction.

On whether they're "bothered" or not, they certainly tend to stay around while you do this, but that's hardly an indication that their night vision isn't considerably bothered. The very fact that they do often stay perched when a light's shone on them increases the likelihood of prolonged dazzling, so a thoughtless owler could blind an owl for some time. I suspect that LED lights are particularly damaging to night vision.

Maybe there are others who know that owl eyes are physiologically different from other animals and that it's fine to shine flashlights at them at night. Well, it just doesn't make sense to me for one.

romillyh


Hi TallOaks & all
Great that you have & can so easily enjoy owls right outside your home!

But i feel i should pick up on romillyh's comments......
Jeepers Creepers (where'd you get those peepers!) indeed !
Thanks for the informed opinions & advice romillyh
Cool
Its bad enough for us having for example a set of car headlights pass us & cause us to lose our nightvision, nevermind an owl !
My advice would be Not to shine a lamp at perched owl.

I feel another important point, which should be stressed here, is to be very careful to limit the amount of time you use playback of calls & the number of times you go out & do it...
For example, If you overplay recordings at a particular site, then the resident male may well pack up & shift off elsewhere !
Use of playback is frowned upon in these parts - and have never used it myself.

cheers
Steve
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