In response to Mundi from Pownal:
At the Green Mountain Audubon Center we've held owl prowls both in the winter for the public and in the summer for the camp kids. We typically focus on the Barred Owl but the other night resulted in a response from a Saw-whet. We do use a tape that we made from a night sounds cd. (Try: A Guide to Night Sounds by Lang Elliott) A fairly clunky tape player, loaded up with fresh batteries and kept warm under a jacket works well to play the tape. The tape was recorded with breaks in between calls so that we can keep the tape playing and have a sufficient break on the tape to listen for a response. This saves the time & frustration of rewinding.
The most important thing when using a tape is not to overdo it. There's a fine line between enjoyment and harrassment of the birds. The American Birding Association states in its Code of Birding Ethics, “Limit the use of recordings and other methods of attracting birds, and never use such methods in heavily birded areas or for attracting any species that is threatened, endangered or of special concern, or rare in your local area.” Because Barred Owls are fairly social, you could choose to avoid trying to call them in during the pairing/breeding season in the winter and try calling to them in the summer. I've had success with this at my house in Moretown. I do admit though that it's hard to stop and I have to remind myself to let the owls have some conversations with their own kind!
Let me know if you have any more questions! And if you'd like to go on an owl prowl check with your local Audubon chapter or VINS. I know that the Mad Birders are hosting an owl walk on Thursday, February 23rd at 7pm. They're meeting at the Moretown Elementary school at 7pm.
Conservation Education Coordinator
Date: Tue, 14 Feb 2006 13:26:07 -0500
From: Mundi Smithers <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: FW: eBird Report - Green Mountain Audubon Center , 2/11/06
Played call-back tapes of Barred Owl which solicited response from the Saw-whet; however recorded Saw-whet yielded no response.
I have wondered for a long time how one does the call-back tape thing. Do you make a recording of the call and then play it on a regular tape recorder??? If so where do you find the calls and how to you get them to repeat? I'm imagining that you would have to take a smallish boombox with a tape deck into the woods with you. Anyone have any advice or suggestions???
Mundi in Pownal