Owl Seekers Wanted!

The Delaware Breeding Bird Atlas is entering its fifth and final year of data collection.  In this last year, project coordinators, area compilers and altasers will be working hard to fill in the gaps.  In 2012, birders will see a more concerted effort to collect data for individual species or groups of species, like nocturnal birds such as owls. 

Beginning on December 1, 2011, safe dates started for two owls – Eastern Screech-Owl and Great Horned Owl.  On January 1, 2012, safe dates start for Barred Owl.  These species have gone undetected in a number of BBA blocks and we can use all the help we can get to find them. 

If you are interested in doing some owling, here are few tips:

  • In general, owling on weekend mornings or evenings can reduce the amount of traffic noise you might encounter during the week.
  • For Great Horned Owls, try just before and after dusk and dawn when pairs are contact calling frequently.
  • You can look for screech-owls anytime.  Screech-owls will respond to call playback both day and night.
  • Use owl call playback responsibly.  Try playing a call for no more than 5 minutes.  If you don’t get a response within 5 minutes of stopping, they are either not present or unlikely to call at all.
  • Tapes don’t need to be played at high volumes – owls have excellent hearing.
  • Go owling in groups and spread out at stops to increase your chances of hearing birds.
  • Be respectful of private property!  Don’t trespass or make stops and play tapes too close to private residences.
  • BE SAFE!  Use your hazard lights when stopped near busy traffic areas or areas with limited shoulders.  If someone stops and you feel uncomfortable – leave!  Don’t be confrontational or take risks.
  • If you are a registered atlaser, don't forget to enter your sightings into the BBA Explorer! If you are not a registered atlaser and want to report owls sightings or want to sign up, contact Anthony Gonzon.

The map below depicts blocks in which OWLS have not yet been detected.  If you are considering which blocks you might like to check for owls, look over this map and then click on the corresponding map link in the block list below. 

GREEN means GO OWLING in these blocks! 



Code Maps Block Name Region   Code Maps Block Name Region
9 map Marcus Hook - SW Region 1   179 map Rehoboth Beach - SW Region 5
17 map Newark East - CE Region 1   200 map Bethany Beach - CE Region 5
18 map Wilmington South - CW Region 1   211 map Bethany Beach - SE Region 5
21 map Newark East - SW Region 1   222 map Assawoman Bay - NE Region 5
23 map Wilmington South - SW Region 1   227 map Kennett Square - CW Region 1
25 map St. Georges - NW Region 1   228 map Marcus Hook - CE Region 1
27 map Delaware City - NW Region 1   229 map West Grove - SE Region 1
28 map Elkton - CE Region 1   231 map Penns Grove - NW Region 1
32 map Elkton - SE Region 1   233 map Wilmington South - SE Region 1
37 map Middletown - NW Region 2   234 map Delaware City - NE Region 1
55 map Smyrna - CW Region 2   236 map Delaware City - SE Region 1
59 map Clayton - SE Region 2   238 map Taylors Bridge - CE Region 2
61 map Smyrna - SE Region 2   241 map Woodland Beach - NW Region 2
63 map Woodland Beach - SE Region 2   244 map Woodland Beach - CE Region 2
65 map Kenton - NE Region 2   249 map Sudlersville - CE Region 3
68 map Little Creek - NW Region 2   254 map Bennetts Pier - CW Region 3
69 map Little Creek - NE Region 2   257 map Mispillion River - NE Region 3
76 map Kenton - SW Region 3   258 map Mispillion River - CE Region 3
82 map Marydel - NW Region 3   265 map Lewes - CE Region 4
84 map Wyoming - NW Region 3   266 map Cape Henlopen - CW Region 4
131 map Lewes - NW Region 4   278 map Bethany Beach - NE Region 5