Flammulated Owl – Movements
An adult Flammulated Owl near Lake Davis in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Northern California.
Flammulated Owl is a spring and summer resident throughout the California Sierra Nevada Mountains. It is the second smallest owl in North America, and smallest of the eared owls. Only the Elf Owl is smaller. It is also the most migratory owl in North America. This owl completely leaves the US every year for its winter haunts in Southern Mexico and Guatemala.
Flammulated Owl – Size and Habits
The Flammulated Owl is just slightly larger in size than a House Sparrow. Quite often it is 30 to 40 feet high in thick pines. Being dark brown in color and having a very ventriloquial call it is difficult to locate. The strictly nocturnal Flammulated Owl can be extremely difficult to get good looks at in the darkness of night. This is further complicated by the fact that it is almost completely mute outside of its breeding season. That time is not now. It is vocal for about a month between mid-May and mid-June. Continue reading
A Quick Trip to Yosemite
Yosemite Coyote with thick winter coat
On Saturday/Sunday May 22-23 two of us made a quick trip to Yosemite National Park to do some spring owling. This is generally a very good time to go to Yosemite because the Flammulated Owls are calling. I usually try to head up to Yosemite the weekend before Memorial Day. This way I don’t hit the big crowds. This is also the perfect time to find Flammulated Owls.
This year, it proved to be the wrong time for this because of cold weather. The Flammulated Owls were calling. Although it was only 35˚F at night and often snowing. This is far too cold for this Southern California boy to be out owling! This does not include the curve it throws into taking pictures. As a brief summary we did find a lot of Flammulated Owls, as I would expect. Unfortunately, the owls seem to be much more secretive in the cold weather and I didn’t manage any good photos. We also saw a Great Gray Owl but once again did not get good pictures. He (actually she!) flew in very close, I think just to tease me, and then continued on into the forest to call at us from a distance. As a last owl for this quick trip we heard Northern Saw-whet Owl.
Try Again Soon
I generally expect to find and take pictures of Flammulated, Great Gray, Northern Pygmy, and Spotted Owls. On a good trip, or if I am looking to find species, I will add Northern Saw-whet, Great Horned, Western Screech and Long-eared Owls. This means I will return in the next few weeks so stay tuned. I don’t often miss, look for photos here soon! This handsome coyote above gives a feel for the weather and was taken with my Canon 7D camera using a 100-400mm lens.