Where the Owls Are

I've received several requests for the map that I used to look for great gray owls and northern hawk owls. I printed out a map of Sax Zim Bog from the Iron Trail Website and then marked off all the spots that had been reported on the bird nets by Ben Yokel and Mike Hendrickson. We also found owls in other areas, it just became a matter of knowing what type of habitat to find them. If you like, you can print out the map and then mark down on it the owls from Ben and Mike's posts.

These were intersections with owls reported by Ben Yokel:

Northern Hawk Owls:
3 individuals along Hwy 53 between mile markers 43 and 45, just north of Cotton
4 individuals along Hwy 7, located 4.0, 5.0, 5.5, and 7.5 miles N. of 52 (Arkola Rd)
1 bird along 213 (McDavitt Rd), 5 miles N. of 28 (Sax Rd)
3 birds along 788 (Admiral Rd), located 2.6, 3.8, and 3.9 miles S. of 27 (Zim Rd)
1 bird along 28 (Sax Rd), 1 mile W of Hwy 7
1 bird along 133, 2.6 miles W. of Hwy 7
1 bird in Melrude, just S. of the Town Hall (the "election moniter" from Nov 2)

Great Grays Owls:
1 bird along Berg Lake Rd in Melrude
1 bird along Melrude Rd (59), 1 mile E of Hwy 53
1 bird along Randall Rd, 0.5 miles N. of 52 (Arkola Rd, ~1 mile W. of Cotton)
2 birds along Admiral Rd (788), 3.6 and 4.0 miles south of Zim Rd (27).
The bird 4 miles S of Zim Road was an off-white dilute-plumaged bird, possibly the same individual seen earlier this year along 28 and 207.

These were intersections with owls reported by Mike Hendrickson:

Northern Hawk Owl
.2 miles south of Stone Lake Rd. (319)
At the intersection of 319 and Co. Rd 7
1.5 miles south of Co. Rd 232 (Lake Nichols Rd) on Co. Rd 7
1.25 miles south of Co. Rd. 232 on Co. Rd 7

Two Great Grey Owls were seen on Co. Rd 133 4.4 miles east of Co. Rd 7.

On our trip on Tuesday we found two great gray owls in a Wildlife Management Area about six miles north of the town of Cotton off of 53.

We also found two great gray owls within a mile of each other on 133 about 3 miles east of 7. We also found a great gray on 52 just west (about half a mile) of 7.

Keep in mind that the birds can be found in these general areas and they don't always stay put (they do have wings after all), and to watch closely. Some general tips when looking for owls include:

1. If you stay in your vehicle you can get relatively close without scaring the owls. You really don't need to do any hiking in the bog, the birding can all be done from the comfort of your vehicle!

2. Watch for northern hawk owls on the tops of trees. They fly much faster than other birds and their wings have a sort of falcon shape as they large long and somewhat pointed like a falcon. They can look about crow size or a little smaller when perched on top of a tree or telephone pole.

3. Watch for great gray owls (which are just HUGE) about eye level in areas with lots of trees. We found several near the road sitting on old snags but it is possible to sometimes find them on top of spruce trees or fence posts in the open.

4. Roads can be either numbered or named. For example, 202 is also Owl Avenune (not so good for owls this year, but great for boreal chickadees)

5. Watch for other vehicles that are slowing or stopped on the side of the road, chances are it's another birder who has spotted an owl.

Good Luck and I hope you get some owls!!!