Finding and enjoying owls in your area

March 12, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

As is the case with finding any wild animal, a few minutes of research can make all the difference in a very successful trip versus spending a lot of time learning as you go.  Of course, the area where you live or are visiting and the time of year you are looking make a lot of difference but proper and prior research are key to your desired results and following the basic tips below will help get you started on identifying the owls in your area and how to look for signs pointing to them.

 

 

Identifying the types of owls in your area and the signs to look for


 

  • Start by using Google to find information about owls in the area  which will help determine the best time to go owling.  Most owls stay in their geographical areas year around but they are more active during certain times of the year as well as certain times of day or night.  Not all owls are easily found during the day but not all owls are strictly nocturnal either.
  • Look for owl boxes which your neighbors, local farmers or ranchers may post on their property.  These are great places to find owls but this is also their home so make sure to keep your distance and do not upset them.
  • Watch the actions of other birds in the area.  Cooper’s hawks, magpies, blackbirds, crows and other neighboring birds will make noise to alert others as well as harass the owls and try to make them leave the area.  The good thing about roosting owls is that they will not move on easily which gives birders and photographers time to discover what the excitement is about.
  • Look around on the ground for owl pellets – these are small tube shaped bundles containing fur, feathers, bones, beaks and other small animal parts which owls cannot digest. An owl will regurgitate at least one of these pellets a day and if an owl is roosting in the same area often then you have a good chance of finding fresh pellets which are a good sign that you are close to roosting owls.

 

 

Tips for successful Owling

 

As I mentioned earlier, not all owls are nocturnal, some owls can be spotted hunting during the day.  Even the more common nocturnal species of owl can be found during the day if you know the right places to look.

 

  • Evergreen trees, willows and dense vines are great places to search.  Owls tend to stay closer to the truck of a tree and they search for areas they feel they are hidden from onlookers.  Look for shapes that tend to break up the natural flow of the tree bush or willows.
  • Looking on the ground and along the beams of a barn and on lower branches of trees will reveal “white-wash” from a roosted owl and other birds.
  • Research pages that provide recordings of owl calls that you can listen to like this site.  Being able to identify the calls of owls in your area is a great benefit to help you find them.
  • Once you find the owl try not to make direct eye contact with it for extended periods of time.  They don’t move on easily but humans are a threat to them so anything you can do to minimize that threat will help relax the owl and also extend your viewing time, hopefully to the point that you will eventually be able to exit the area without disturbing the owl from its roost or nest.
  • Owls are early nesters, usually beginning in January which is much earlier than most other birds.  They are known for moving in to abandoned nests, usually of hawks or squirrels so keep an eye on any you know of in your area.
  • Here’s a great article from Audubon the with some tips for finding west coast owls and also some good general tips for finding urban owls.
  • Owling at night can be a lot of fun and offer a different aspect of the area even if you are very familiar with it during daylight hours.  Because of this it is important to research the area more closely to familiarize yourself with any possible dangers or obstacles that could delay or cancel your owling outing.

 

 

 

 


New! Custom Cards from DwaynesWorld.Com

February 27, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

 

Hi, thanks for stopping by.  Beginning this week I will be offering a product through the website which I have only provided through special request in the past; custom 5x7 folded cards.  Below is a very quick video telling you all about them (yep, that's it... I look like I just took a mug shot) and at the end of this post you will find a link that will take you to the card gallery.  You can also mouse over the "Gallery/Shopping" link in the menu above which will take you straight to the gallery as well.

 

Take me to the cards!

 

 

 

 


It's an eagle! I have to get a photo!! Some do's and don't for viewing wildlife.

February 23, 2017  •  3 Comments

Hi everyone!  I'm often asked how I get the photos I do so I've included a few tips below.

Like eagles?  Well here you go....  

 

We’re still seeing a lot of eagles in the valley which is so awesome and I’ve noticed a lot of people pulling off the road to view them which, if done properly, I really suggest you do… as well as being our national symbol they are also just magnificent birds to watch.  Since I’m suggesting that you stop and see them I’d also like to suggest a few tips so they don’t go flying off the second you stop as well as a few reminders so we don’t have any fender benders or worse…

 

If you see an eagle (or any other animal you’d like to get a better look at) the first thing you want to do is drive past it and don’t hit your brakes.  Yes, drive past it.  Believe me, wild animals are very smart as well as very skittish and they are watching you; if they see you do something the other cars aren’t doing they’ll get freaked out and take off right away so don’t stop!  Continue to drive past the animal at least a quarter mile and then, when it’s safe, turn around and pull off the road as far back from it as possible.  I say “when it’s safe” because I’ve seen a few bad fender benders happen all due to someone seeing a cool animal and coming to a screeching halt or making an immediate U-turn without taking traffic and pedestrians in to consideration.  I get it… you’re excited and you want to make sure you get to see that animal… that doesn’t mean, however, that you can just throw caution and traffic laws out the window just because there’s a bald eagle on a fence post.  Take your time, think about your surroundings and be safe.

 

The closer you get to any wild animal the more likely you are to disturb it so drive slowly and stop as far away from it as you can.  Once you stop don’t just jump out of the vehicle!  In fact, if you don’t have to, don’t get out at all and view the animal from where you are.  If you are going to exit the vehicle it is best to wait a few minutes so the animal will hopefully relax a little.  Remember, once a wild animal identifies you as a person they will take off at the first feeling of being threatened so letting the animal relax a little and providing minimal movement on your part are two of the best things you can do to help provide a long and pleasurable visit with any wildlife.  If there are fences and fields between you and the animal then you have a little more leeway for moving around as the distance will keep the animal feeling less threatened but you still want to move slowly and quietly.  Speaking of fences and fields – those fences, gates and signs are there for a reason.  Abide by them and do not trespass or your quick stop to see that animal might turn in to a long talk with a property owner as well as the police.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a trespasser tell a property owner that it was okay if they hopped the fence or came on their property because all they were doing was getting a photograph.  Uhm, no… if you do not have prior permission then that is not okay, ever.

Besides doing your best to not disturb the animals as well as the private property they are very likely to be on, you also want to keep in mind that others may be in the area viewing the animal as well.  Because of this it is very important to drive slowly and cautiously – remember, especially with photographers, just because you don’t see someone it doesn’t mean they aren’t crouched down behind a bush or standing right on the other side of the telephone pole or tree you’re thinking of parking next to.  That's another good reason to take that extra quarter mile before you turn around - you need to check out the area and make sure you don't turn around right on top of someone else.  Whipping in to an "open spot" often turns out to not be the best idea for many reasons.  Be very careful as well as courteous; keep windows rolled up and all noise to a minimum.  Silence your cell phone and make sure to keep all pets in the vehicle – this is not an exercise break for Fido or a time to be talking to your bestie about what you had for lunch.  Also, if you have small children make sure they understand that being quiet is key and you are not stopping to play.

There are other tips for a great viewing experience but these do a good job of covering the basics.  Think about your surroundings and remember to be courteous not only to others in the area but also to the property owners and, most importantly, to the animals themselves.

 

Dwayne


A minute with a bald eagle

February 22, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

I'm not much of a videographer but every once in a while I like to take some video of what I'm doing.  This is a 60 second clip of a 4-5 year old bald eagle just hanging out on a post letting me get shots of it.  Pretty cool bird.

 


Upcoming Event - Eagles and Ag, Carson Valley Nevada

January 11, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

I have always found myself with a camera in my hands as far back as I can remember and although I have all those years behind a lens I only started really taking photography seriously, and accepting it for being more than just me and a camera, about ten years ago.  In the past ten years or so I’ve learned some really cool things, I’ve met some very awesome and interesting people and developed some friendships that will last a lifetime but the one thing I have not done yet is display my art in a public forum where I am right there to meet and talk with people who may be admiring (and surely criticizing) my work.  I only started selling a short time ago and now I am being invited to display in exhibits and galleries as well as shows that highlight my style of photography and although it’s pretty cool, I’m a bit nervous.  And you know what... it's all good!

 

January 26th will be my first show of this sort and I’m getting pretty excited about it.   Eagles and Agriculture (Eagles and Ag), is a four day event in the Carson Valley and the kick off is the display/exhibit taking place at the community center in Gardnerville.  There will be a lot of information, a lot of very interesting wildlife and some great photography and artwork by a select group of local photographers.  For anyone who follows my work you know a show like this is right up my alley and I hope to do very well both with the art I have on site but also getting my name out there even more as a local wildlife and landscape artist.  So, if you’re in the area, stop by and say hello!  An article about Eagles and Ag is below and if you have any questions you can always contact me.  If you aren’t local but appreciate beautiful wildlife and landscape artwork then make sure to take a look at my galleries!

 

Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

Dwayne