Posting owl roost locations

I came across this post by John Trapp at Birds Etcetera where he describes a Michigan listserv post on the location of a Saw Whet Owl. I've asked John to share his thoughts on this practice as many of the comments on my hoo in taboo post as well as the poll post seem to indicate that this is not common practice amongst birders. I'd love to hear from folks that live in areas where locations of owls are readily revealed on list servs to see what their thoughts are. Hopefully John and others will respond.

Have a great weekend and Happy Easter!


Patrick Belardo said...

I saw that post too and had reservations about it. I meant to go back and comment. Under no circumstances should an owl's roosting spot be shared on a public forum.

Elaine Rimbach said...

I thought of you and your previous article the other day. The Manatee County Audubon March 2008 newsletter, "The Night Heron," had an article on a pair of GHOs that are nesting at Felts Audubon Preserve. It discussed the hatching of two owlets and included pictures. I don't know the size of the membership, but this information was disseminated to all the members. I know that MCAS holds a tour for the public once a month, but I am in the process of finding out whether the Preserve is accessible otherwise. Since I have not been able to attend any MCAS functions yet, I haven't met any of the members. On the one hand, this information would be of interest to members of an Audubon Society, and some may actually depend on the Society to alert them to such sightings. Is that wrong? On the other hand, if a birder wants to experience a great sighting, then get out there and take advantage of sighting opportunities such as field trips. At least the newsletter is limited to members and not the public at large. (sigh)

Owlman said...

Elaine, honestly I have mixed feelings about this topic. If you share owl nest/roosting locations with fellow birders is that a bad thing? If it is, then many a birder is a fault because most of us do share it with other birders. All of my owls in the U.S have been found through word of mouth and I appreciate the people who shared the info with me. Having said that I can't be the only one who heard about the owls because most of the roosts I visited already had onlookers present. On the other side of the coin I don’t see too many non-birders flocking to see owls even if the location is publicized in a local magazine/newspaper – unless the owls are in a present public place. In those cases the owls definitely don’t mind seeing people. Having said all this I still don’t feel comfortable posting the location of an owl on my blog, but I think I would share it with someone in the blogging community if they asked me for the info.

Elaine @ floridabirder said...

Well put. And if not for the help from a stranger at a refuge in NJ, I still would not have Snowy Owl on my life list. (I recounted that adventure on my blog the other day.) In that particular case, considering the weather conditions at the time, I don't think there is any way, no how, that anyone could have disturbed that owl. If I know a birder whom I believe is conscientious, then I would share the information. I can't control the flow from there. But I personally would be discreet; I would not share the information at large. :)

Incredible photos shared by the Flickr community group - Owls of North America. Click on the play button to begin the slideshow - ENJOY!