[Tweeters] Owling Ethics

Sammy Catiis Hikersammy at msn.com
Sun Jan 1 18:24:33 PST 2017

In this day and age, I see more and more people using enticers with their phone apps. Just a reminder, that during breeding season, this is often illegal and certainly not something you should be using even where it's not. There is much research that this can interfere with their nesting.

It is Great Horned Owl nesting/breeding time of year.. so as a reminder and since so many people are enjoying Stanwoods Eide road, I thought it might be a useful idea to post this:


Owling ethics

Never use tapes or imitations during an owl's breeding season unless you are part of a legitimate organized survey. Never use tapes where they are illegal. This includes all national parks where tapes are considered a form of wildlife harassment. Never use tapes with threatened or endangered owl species.

If you should discover an owl, remain quiet and do everything in slow motion. Sink slowly to the ground to appear less threatening. If the owl no longer feels threatened, you may get to watch it relax. If you are too close to the owl and it fidgets and continues to look alarmed (elongated), back off slowly and quietly, keeping your profile low. It is illegal to approach within 30 feet of a protected species. (all owls are protected)

If you find a nest or roost site and wish to study it, visit infrequently (no more than once every three to four weeks). Study the site from a safe distance with binoculars or a scope, so the owls are not alarmed by your presence. Do not disturb a nest or roost site by getting too close, even for photos. You may be the reason a nest fails or a roost is abandoned.

Do not snap branches away from an owl or its perch for the "perfect photo." Owls choose to perch with branches breaking up their overall shape, providing a natural camouflage. The branches make the photo more realistic.

Protect your discovered owl by keeping it a secret; refrain from telling your friends. They may tell their friends (and so on), and before you know it, the cumulative disturbance will drive the owl away.

Use basic birding etiquette at all times. Respect private property and "no trespassing" signs. Amherst Island, Ontario, once a special winter owl destination, no longer welcomes birders because of numerous infractions of these basic rules. Always ask permission and explain what you are doing. Often you can learn of owls from farmers or enlightened land owners.

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