Owl Project Update: February 2021

An extreme closeup of a Long-eared Owl taken from the window.

Columbus Audubon is proud to sponsor the Central Ohio Owl Research Project led by Dr Blake Mathys.

There have now been more than 1,300 owl sighting reported to the project, and multiple new reports come in every day.

Two exciting recent reports were groups of Long-eared Owls roosting in spruce trees right beside homes. One was a group of 4 in Allen County and the other was a group of 3 in Union County. The pictures show the view from inside the homes; these fortunate homeowners were able to just look through their windows and have great, close views of these owls!

In addition to the sightings reported by the public, targeted searches by the project found 2 additional Long-eared Owls and a Barn Owl since the last update (bringing the totals number of owls found by the project up to 4 Northern Saw-whet Owls, 3 Long-eared Owls, and 1 Barn Owl). Over 600 total owl pellets have now been collected, and students at Ohio Dominican University have started dissecting the pellets in order to analyze the owls’ diet.

Long-eared Owls and Northern Saw-whet Owls may start migrating in late February, so the next few weeks will be the last big push for searches (although the snow cover may make that more difficult).

For more information about the Owl Project, see the project page at the Ohio Dominican University website.