The following night, I came across 4 Long-eared Owls (Asio otus) displaying in a clearing in a jack pine stand. The owls sometimes glided and sometimes zig-zagged over the clearing and would periodically clap their wings below them producing an audible “snap” noise (such aerial display also seen in other Asio species such as Short-eared Owl). Both sexes were involved as I heard both male and female voices, although I can’t be sure who was clapping. I took a little time in between survey routes to try to photograph this behaviour but was unsuccessful, although I got these shots of a calling bird (presumed male based on voice) at the edge of the clearing. I couldn’t stay long because I had to go on and do other surveys but it was sure hard to tear myself away from the performance.
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
It is Nocturnal Owl Survey season here in Canada and two nights ago I was treated to a few rewards before my survey got started – a pair of Barred Owls (Strix varia) duetting in the evening light (photo below shows the male, based on voice) and a Canada Lynx walking along the dirt road! Although common in some parts of their range, Barred Owls occur in low densities in Manitoba and are always a treat for us here.