Calling All Owls

| 3/3/2016 8:32:00 AM

Tags: Screech Owls, Clark County Ohio Park District, Listening for owls, Barn owls, Barred Owls, Medway Ohio, Connie Moore,

 Connie Moorebarred owl adult

If you’ve ever wondered who gives a hoot about owls, you should have been with us and twenty-six others gathered together on a recent Friday night amidst fierce warm winds, as program conductor, Drew Gross, tried to call the elusive birds out of hiding here in Ohio.

Clark County Park District’s February programs included an annual “The Calling of the Owls.” Weather is only a slight consideration as the program takes place in any temperature above 20 degrees and whether or not there is snow on the ground. The evening hour of 6:30 was a good time to gather, pass out information booklets and owl sound CDs and begin the hike through George Rogers Clark Park where at least one Eastern Screech owl is known to nest. Sundown was minutes away as the group eagerly took off for the woods.

Drew Gross has a natural affinity for the park and the owls. He can remember being brought to the park as a young child and encouraged to take note of everything living and wonderful the park held. He’s been conducting this program for some years and noted that sometimes the owls come, sometimes not. Either way, Drew’s running commentary makes for an enjoyable evening of walking, listening, looking to the heavens and the earth for all things alive on a balmy, albeit windy, night.

He and his helpers kept the group going, stopping at intervals to play recorded owl sounds, issuing an invitation for answers from afar. His knowledge-sharing included pointing out constellations visible as clouds whooshed through the air above. Below, a muskrat splashed into the Hosterman Lake waters as the group approached. All flashlights followed it as it swam the dark, moonlight-splashed lake.

A bird sound put the group on alert. A gaggle of Canadian geese decided at the late hour to make the lake a stopping place for the night. Noisily they flew low, banked, turned and skimmed across the water to rest along the back shore where winds found it hard to find them. Cackling softly to make sure everyone was settled in, they became dark mounds, blending into the night.

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