I just would like to point out that the fact that people are seeing this
bird hunt during the daytime IS exactly what is concerning me. As you
point out, this species is primarily a nocturnal animal. If it is being
forced to hunt outside of it's normal hunting times, I am *very* concerned
that it is not obtaining much prey. Just as if I saw a Red tailed hawk
take a flying squirrel off my feeder at midnight -- it would tell me
"something ain't right here".
I think we need to look at unusual bird activity as a symptom that there
may be a problem. I don't want to jump into the debate over respecting the
bird's space - that has been well debated and I have my own opinions. I
just want to point out that when we see something deviating form an
expected pattern, it isn't necessarily something to be comforted by - it
is more likely a sign of a problem.
The dense snowpack DOES cause a problem for rodent-eating animals, they
have the opportunity to hide more readily under the snowpack. My sense is
that this bird probably is experiencing some degree of hunger stress and
that SHOULD play a role in what we consider "ethical" behaviour.
Just my 2 cents, on sale for a penny -- take it or leave it, but I feel
that point has been overlooked.
On Tuesday, February 28, 2017 at 5:51:53 PM UTC-5, Seth Davis wrote:
> Though I'm inclined to do a point-by-point response but truthfully I'm
> getting tired of repeating myself (and I'm sure everyone else is sick of me
> too) thus I want to limit my response to your last point with regard to
> hunting. I just want to remind you that GGOW's are primarily nocturnal
> hunters, therefore a majority of their kills are going to be made when the
> gaggle of birders are not present. The fact that people have witnessed it
> feeding diurnally A.) is awesome, B.) indicates that the bird is not in a
> lack of food sources. So yes. Those couple of voles actually mean a lot. If
> it continues to hunt despite onlookers that suggests behaviorally that the
> bird is not in distress.
> On Tuesday, February 28, 2017 at 5:15:30 PM UTC-5, Richard Harris Podolsky
>> I know some find this back and forth tiresome - or maybe even devisive.
>> But we are all adults here and while opinions clearly vary - *lets keep
>> sharing and learning from each other! *That is what a good and healthy
>> forum like this is all about.
>> My beef was with the practice of leaving the road and entering into the
>> field to watch and photograph the bird. And the ABA Code of Birding
>> Ethics, posted by Kristen recommends, *not doing tha*t - specifically, "*1(d)
>> Stay on roads, trails, and paths where they exist; otherwise, keep habitat
>> disturbance to a minimum*." Good roads exist at both locales - lets use
>> them even if the land owners permits you to enter the fields - just say not
>> thank you.
>> I did some checking and in the Birds of North America it states that
>> research has shown that wild, adult GGOW's *consume up to 7 Microtus
>> -sized prey items per day* during the winter months. So, even if you
>> see the owl catch a couple of voles during a few hours spent watching from
>> within the fields - the owl may have caught more mice if everyone stayed on
>> the road as ABA Code recommends. Clearly, we cannot be sure of that - but
>> let us err on the side of caution. We want this bird to go home and breed
>> I personally respect everyones opinions and I welcome any chance to be
>> enlightened from the research and field experience they have.
>> On Tuesday, February 28, 2017 at 11:08:43 AM UTC-5, BAB wrote:
>>> I wonder if the controversy over the great gray might not be solved with
>>> an appeal to respecting comfort distances. While it's true a warbler can
>>> still find food in its immediate vicinity even with a photographer 25 feet
>>> away, it's quite different for an owl that needs a hay field to hunt over.
>>> Professional wildlife photographers don't harass their target species.
>>> What is the purpose of an amateur needing to get so close, especially with
>>> a 500mm lens? Is it for stock images? There are currently more than
>>> enough excellent stock photos of great gray owls, and any additional images
>>> would yield about $0.75 in that particular market. Or is getting close
>>> just a personal objective, sort of like Hemingway proving he can still
>>> shoot one more elephant? If you love the wildlife you are pursuing with a
>>> camera, why would you purposely harass the animal? If you don't love your
>>> wild photographic targets, perhaps it's time to move on to landscapes,
>>> architecture, or portraits.
>>> Bruce Bartrug
>>> Nobleboro, Maine, USA
>>> •The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but
>>> because of those who look on and do nothing. - Albert Einstein
>>> •In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the
>>> silence of our friends. -Martin Luther King