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Amorous? Daytime Owls

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  • Richard Carlson
    We birded Merced Nat l Wildlife Refuge near Los Banos, CA on Dec. 31. We saw an incredible 8 Great Horned Owls -- 4 pair in 4 locations -- between about 10
    Message 1 of 2 , Jan 2, 2002
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      We birded Merced Nat'l Wildlife Refuge near Los Banos, CA on Dec. 31. We
      saw an incredible 8 Great Horned Owls -- 4 pair in 4 locations -- between
      about 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

      All these birds were in pairs and easy to see, sitting in the same or
      adjacent trees, fairly out in the open. Two were even hooting and hissing
      at noon.

      There are several possible explanations:

      1. The weather was really gloomy, but mostly dry after weeks of rain. They
      just wanted to get out.

      2. This is the peak of mating season, and they forgot everything else, like
      hiding in daylight.

      3. The nearby hunters drove them from normal roosts to new spots.

      Anyone have any better theories, or real data??

      The owls made up for the relative scarcity of Sandhill Cranes. We saw only
      30 instead of thousands.

      Other notable birds were 15 Shrikes and one barn swallow.

      Richard C. Carlson
      Full Time Birder, Biker & Rotary Bureaucrat
      Part-time Economist
      Palo Alto & Lake Tahoe, CA
      rccarl@...
      650-949-9590
    • Foxzpuffin@aol.com
      In a message dated 1/2/02 11:28:46 AM, rccarl@pacbell.net writes:
      Message 2 of 2 , Jan 2, 2002
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        In a message dated 1/2/02 11:28:46 AM, rccarl@... writes:

        << 2. This is the peak of mating season, and they forgot everything else,
        like
        hiding in daylight.

        3. The nearby hunters drove them from normal roosts to new spots. >>

        For nearly 20 years I have seen GHO out in the open at this time of year at
        the various refuges in the area. This has been in all kinds of weather. I
        think this experience rules out 1. I have no scientific evidence to choose
        between 2 and 3 but tend to think it is 2 based on nothing in particular.
        Paul
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