Five out of six ain’t bad

It may have been pitch dark and stupid early (3:30 am!) Saturday, as I set off to meet my Put an Owl on It team for Audubon’s Birdathon fundraiser, but I could hardly contain my excitement. All. Day. Long. Owling!!!

Eight of us braved the pre-sunrise to post-sundown adventure, including our team leaders, Joe Liebezeit, Portland Audubon Avian Conservation Program Manager, and Rhett Wilkins, avid birder, knowledgeable owler, and talented bird photographer.

We eagerly piled in vehicles and started off, first looking for the Barn Owl.

Success!

Barn Owl

We searched for Northern Pygmy Owls next. We caught a glimpse of one in flight high in the canopy (success!), and heard others, but no photos this time. I recorded a clip of their “hollow toot” we heard here. I also gained a greater appreciation for my chance sighting of a Northern Pygmy Owl on day 1 of birding.

Next, we met up with accomplished nature photographer, birder, and owl-enthusiast, Scott Carpenter, who located a Great Horned Owl with two owlets for us. Success!

Great Horned Owl

I took these owlet pictures on a return visit the following day.

Great Horned Owlet

It’s a funny thing, when you get home and look at your owlet pics to find a third (adult) owl hiding in the photo that you didn’t notice on site. Sneaky ninja owls!

Great Horned Owlet

Following great horned, we looked for Western Screech Owl. Yet, again, success! I have never seen a screech owl before, and I barely saw this well-camouflaged one, until Rhett pointed it out not 15 feet from us. Stunning.

Western Screech Owl

We continued into the early evening to find Barred Owls. We found six rather cooperative owls, three adults and three owlets. Success!

Barred Owl

Barred Owl

Barred Owlet

Barred Owlet

We observed an owlet clumsily attempt flight, watched adults hunt, and snapped photos of poised individuals. We spent quality time watching these impressive, stately, and sometimes comical creatures until just after sunset (owlet video here).

And the fun wasn’t over yet. We still had one species left to find, the Northern Saw-whet Owl. Even after 12+ hours of birding, the team was committed and determined to accomplish this task. We placed ourselves at the viewing site and waited. Long after sunset and coyotes drunken yips and hollers, the full moon rose and we waited. Focused, quiet, and ready.

But, the Saw Whet Owl wasn’t ready for us, and by 9:30 pm, we reluctantly called it a night.

Even without the Saw-whet, witnessing 5 owl species, and seeing/hearing over 14 individuals in one day, is a major hooting success! Plus, I met some outstanding fellow birders and friends.

Much love for this team

I am forever grateful to Audubon for this unique opportunity and to the folks I’ve met who share this passion. Hopefully, we’ve contributed in some way to the future success of our stealthy, magnificent, feathered friends and helped spread the word about Audubon’s good work. If you feel the twinkle of inspiration, make a difference here. Thank you!

More pictures from the trip here!

Tweets and chirps,

Audrey

Birdathon 2015

Birding is hard. Fundraising is hard.

But they’re both important, so I’ve joined Audubon’s Birdathon 2015

This Saturday, I’m owling from before sunrise to beyond sunset on team Put an Owl on It. Our goal is to find six target species by the end of the day: Northern Saw-whet Owl, Northern Pygmy-Owl, Great Horned Owl, Western Screech-Owl, Barred Owl, and Barn Owl.

For the owls

For the owls

AND

On May 23rd, I’m sitting all day on The Great Big Sit team at Crystal Springs Rhododendron Gardens! I’m even guiding this one, eek! (maybe you’d like to join me?)

“Audrey Addison and Donald Gibson will be your guides as you give your legs a rest and your eyes a treat on a leisurely morning at the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden. Bring your lawn chair, binoculars and snacks, sit back, and relax as the birds come to you in this beautiful botanical sanctuary. You’ll learn to identify many of the 35 – 50 species that frequent this idyllic setting. ”

Sitting at Crystal Springs

For the sitting

Consider donating to either and/or both teams! My target goals are low, so every donation makes a big difference. It all goes to a great cause: bird protection and care, and education for people.

Donate to Put an Owl on it HERE, donate to The Great Big Sit HERE.

To those that have already donated, you know who you are! – Much love and thanks!!

For the birds.

Tweets and chirps,

Audrey