Monday, December 31, 2007
A Long Ride for a Long Eared Owl
I took a ride to Chicago (55 miles), because I heard of a winter roost containing up to 11 Long Eared Owls. I couldn't believe the site I saw. There were 6 on this day (SUNDAY), in a neighborhood, where the streets were tight, and the park was small; your typical innercity neighborhood. The owls were in a pine right next to the sidewalk, so I could walk right up and stand within 15 feet of them. I tried to keep my disturbance to a minimum, by being quiet and not moving too fast. I'm sure this is not comfortable for the owls, so only I stayed as long as I needed. There was a lot of foot traffic, so I don't think they will be there much longer. It was my first ever sighting of this species, and for their tolerance, I thank them immensely. I don't recommend getting too close to owls, because they hide for a reason. For the most part, they are nocturnal, thus, with people invading their roost area, they are probably not sleeping well, and are stressed. In this particular setting, being in downtown Chicago, they chose unwisely, and will probably rethink their locale for their safe haven in the future.