March is for Owl Prowls

March is a great time to experience owls in Ontario Parks; some are nesting and many will be hooting to proclaim their territories.  Plan your own owl prowl during March Break  in a provincial park. Park staff suggest an evening walk in an area with lots of cover.  Go on a still night when there’s little wind. Owls don’t tend to call on a windy night and it’s difficult to hear them or be heard!

Owl types

In Southern Ontario, you are more likely to see or hear Barred, Great Horned and Screech owls. Further north, Barred Owls are more common; listen for their “who cooks for you” calls. Many Parks also have populations of Saw-whet owls and Presqu’ile is regularly visited by Snowy Owls from the far north. This blog’s amazing owl pic was snapped recently in Killarney Provincial Park (by the way, it has winter yurts for rent).

Bird calls

Cornell University’s MacCaulay Library website has an incredible collection of bird songs including owls or better yet download a bird call app and learn how to recognize these amazing birds by ear!

Put a piece of clear red plastic or cellophane on your flashlight to preserve your night vision and make it easier to experience the natural wonders of walking at night; watch out for flying squirrels too!

And a nice way to cap off your night hike with the younger set is with a bedtime story.  A great one to read(for up to age 6) is, Jane Yolen’s “Owl Moon”.  Good night!