In the foggy morning of the 12th of January, the Ohio Young Birders Club looked for the Short-eared Owl and other birds of prey near The Wilds, a conservation area that has rare birds due to its prairie-like environment. We were guided by Al Parker.
In the beginning of the meeting around the Wilds, the group searched for the Short-eared Owl and its pellets. In one tree, a mystery bird flapped away and we found owl pellets on the ground; we thought the bird was indeed a Short-eared Owl. We found another small spot with some white wash nearby. After finding more pellets we dissected some to see what the owl had been eating, and found meadow voles and shrews. Then we hit the road again for some possible sightings of other raptors found in the area of the Wilds.
Soon after, we saw an immature Bald Eagle. We drove to a lake and saw Trumpeter Swans and Ring-necked Ducks, along with a Belted Kingfisher, Mallards, and Canada Geese. In that same area we also saw a Rough-legged Hawk in black morph, and Northern Harriers. Then we kept going and came to a lodge for the Wilds, and inside we watched a slideshow on most of the birds of prey.
After this, we came back to the parking lot and a group of us left for home. The remaining group went on and saw two Red-tailed Hawks chasing each other. We followed the road and watched an American Kestrel fly low to the hill. We came back to the parking lot and gazed at a hovering Rough-legged Hawk. After this, the remaining group said their goodbyes and went home.
Altogether, we had spent about six hours birding. We had seen about 27 bird species.
You can view photos for this trip: Album 1, Album 2, Album 3. Bella Little is a member of the Central Ohio Chapter of OYBC. The following list of birds seen was compiled by Aaron Tayal, also a Central Ohio OYBC member.
(Mystery Owl; possibly Short-eared Owl)