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October 11, 2017 12:10 AM   Subscribe

I’m going to be driving from SF to LA sometime in the next 4-5 days. I have camping gear and some very nice microphones. I need more echoing, reverberant owl sounds in my sleeping library. Where can I camp out and record a midnight chorus with the greatest possible density of owl calls?
posted by mykescipark to Science & Nature (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
(Postscript: I’m not averse to hiking in somewhere and leaving my gear overnight by itself.)
posted by mykescipark at 12:12 AM on October 11

Ebird can help you with that!
This page.

Scroll all the way down to the owls, a little more than halfway down. Click the map button for the owl species you want. Enjoy. Hooray for the internet!!

Maybe Great Horned Owl will be the closest to what you expect an owl to sound like, slash easiest to hear?
You might not end up hearing all species because, for example, little owls are going to shut their beaks when a Great Horned is calling because nobody likes to get eaten.
posted by sacchan at 12:44 AM on October 11 [5 favorites]

I was recently out in the woods with a group of people and one of those guys had a recorded owl call, which he played over a speaker (i.e. battery-powered mini thing connected to his phone), and successfully attracted another couple of owls to converse with his recording. I know only that it was really cool to hear multiple owls in the woods, I have no idea what kind of owls, what type of call was in the recording (i.e. food-related, mate-related, etc) or any of the details that would actually be helpful to you, all I mean to say is, maybe you could increase your owl density or chattiness by luring some in.
posted by aimedwander at 9:39 AM on October 11

aimedwander, that's a wonderful idea, and one I myself just picked up last night from watching a few YouTube videos. Thanks for putting it out there! I'm definitely going to pack a little BlueTooth speaker just in case.
posted by mykescipark at 3:50 PM on October 11

Check in advance if you can/should be using recordings in that area or for that species! Here's more info on why to be careful about using recordings
posted by sacchan at 8:46 PM on October 11 [1 favorite]

Thanks for that, sacchan. Excellent information and something I should've thought about.

It occurred to me the other night that the wildfires along this section of the coast are probably causing massive disruptions in the bird populations. Several of the national parks have closed indefinitely and kicked out campers due to the fires. So this whole thing might just be badly timed. :-/
posted by mykescipark at 9:45 AM on October 12

Aw, well, you're still set for your next owl adventure even so!
posted by sacchan at 6:08 AM on October 13

So, I gave it a whirl deep in the Sequoia National Forest last night, and ... nothing. Not a single bird, not a single sound. Perhaps everything is already sleeping and/or migrating by now. Ah well...!
posted by mykescipark at 11:11 AM on October 17 [1 favorite]

Next step is your nearest Audubon center or other birding org. Tell them what you want to do and I guarantee you somebody, probably some old guy, will hook you up with the local hooting grounds.
posted by sacchan at 12:18 AM on October 19

Hmm, I'll have to give that some thought. I'm in Iowa and I've several owls roosting on the outside of the hotel that I'm staying in. A new structure, it's the perfect predator's roost for them.

I'm sorry - all that I have here are a few lavallière microphones for depositions.

Ah, yes - I have a number of regulars in my subdivision - I knew if I thought about it for a minute. Diamond Bar, Ca has a good owl population (and, fewer outdoor cats as a result) - perhaps you could record along Tonner Canyon?
posted by grolaw at 12:15 AM on October 22

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