If you’re getting a bit winter weary and would appreciate a hint of spring, look and listen for owls this month. February is when Ohio’s various owl species begin breeding, with some mated pairs already incubating eggs. If you’d like an additional sign of spring, maple syrup producers throughout the Buckeye State will begin tapping maple trees this month. Hang in there, spring is coming!
B David Petersen
Q. All summer and early fall I was fascinated by a distinctive call in the evening and night. Eventually, I identified the call as that of a barred owl. It seemed to be a single bird, always in the distant west, northwest, and southeast from my location next to the Ashland airport. Now into the winter months, the owl has gone silent. Where do they go?
A. Hi, David: Barred owls are not migratory, so I’m guessing that the bird you heard was a juvenile, especially since you heard it during the summer and early fall, then not during the colder months. Keep in mind, too, that you probably had the windows of your house open more during the warmer months, which would allow you to hear the owl more often. You will probably begin hearing the owl(s) again during late winter, as now is their breeding season.
Jim Linne (South Central Power Company)
Q. I own a farm near Hillsboro, Ohio, and have attached a photo of an owl that has been hunting in my hay fields for the last few months. At one time, I counted seven of them in the same field at the same time. The Audubon Society told me it is a short-eared owl.I also had a female great horned owl that got its wing caught in a barbed-wire fence about three years ago. We took it to the Glen Helen Raptor Rehab Center in Yellow Springs, and six weeks later I released it back at the farm. I also have seen a barn owl in my bank barn. My farm is 300 acres in size, all in permanent pasture and hay fields except for 50 acres of woods.All that said, I tried to email Blake Mathys the above information for his owl study mentioned in the January 2021 edition of Ohio Cooperative Living, (Give a Hoot: Wintering Owl Study Needs Your Help; page 14) but the email address in the article does not work.
A. Jim: Thanks for the photo and making me aware of the many owls on your farm. The fact that you had difficulty attempting to contact Blake Mathys by email with your information at www.ohiodominican.edu/owlproject is that the address given in the story is a website address, not an email address. Just click on the link above, and it will take you to the owl-study website where you can enter your information. And thanks for maintaining the amount of grasslands on your farm that you do. It is a wildlife habitat type sorely lacking in Ohio these days.