Cache Creek, Merrit, Kamloops, Salmon Arm, Vernon, Kelowna, Penticton, Osoyoos, Grand Forks
By kelseythompson

I live in Vernon and am new to birding. I'm interested in attempting to spot some owls and ideally shoot some video (I'm a cinematographer by trade) but have no idea where to start and am not sure where the best places to look in the area are. If anyone has spotted any owls recently or can help me get started I'd be very appreciative! I'm willing to drive to different locations to give it a go.


By tdadswell
Welcome to the world of birding.

As many if not all here will agree, giving information about the where-abouts of sensitive birds like owls will more than likely put them in un-necessary danger from too many people invading their environment. There are certain rules that need to be followed concerning any sensitive bird's. While many appreciate the intentions of shooting a video, it's just for the protection of the birds that nobody will provide the location. I hope you can understand the circumstances described.

I do suggest just getting out and enjoying nature with your camera and eventually you may find and owl in your wanderings. They are around but are mostly hidden from our sight for a reason.

Take care, and if you do find one...don't reveal it's location. Thanks.
By kelseythompson
Thanks for your reply!

I fully understand what you're saying and honestly I wasn't really looking for "there's one in the spruce tree on the corner or 25th and Broadway", I'm more hoping someone can tell me a bit about what to look for and the habitat/areas owls generally reside. That way when I go and look for myself I'm not just wondering aimlessly. Are there many owls in Kal park or the Vernon area or should I take a trip elsewhere, do they generally reside in trees at the edge of fields, is dusk the best time to go owling, do they leave any noticeable evidence on the ground... a little knowledge on this kind of thing would be very helpful!


By Nonnobissolum
Hey Kelsey,

Quite a few birding guides give directions to the general locations where owls can be found. This is a far cry though from actually finding them. The South Okanagan is great place for owls, but you should be able to find plenty around Vernon too.

If you are new to birding and are really serious about getting some good video of owls you will need to do your homework. The best way to find them is pick your favourite areas and just get out there and start listening and looking. Bring a flashlight or spotlight as long as it is not one of those bazillion watt ones, the owls don't really care much as long as you don't get too carried away, then they will just fly away.

It will be a long time probably until you find one unless you get lucky. Some owls are easier to find than others. No doubt there are Great Horned Owls in your area. If you do find one and it happens to be around the nest of one of these guys, I would be very careful, they defend the nest fiercely and more than one photographer has been more or less scalped because they got too close.

There is no short cut that can be ethically sound. The only way to responsibly shoot an owl is to find out everything you can about the species you want to shoot so that you can make sure that you will not disturb it. Get involved with your local birding community and you will learn a lot.

Even experienced birders which are not familiar with an area are unlikely to find them, so start looking around at night in likely areas. There are many books and online info to help you learn their life habits, which is the first step to finding them.

And when you get that far, even the pros may take hours or even days and weeks to set up for a video shoot without disturbing anything. Owls have habits. Just tell the local expert who is a part of the birding community there if you find something special like a nest.

There are many photogenic owls in your area, and many local experts who will be happy to help you once they figure out you are sincere and ethically sound photog. But I doubt you will need your camera this year.

Good luck!
By kelseythompson
Thanks a lot for the great info! I've been out looking, as long as I'm persistent I'm sure I'll get lucky sooner or later. In the mean time I'm happy to check out and shoot whatever else I can find, I've already seen lots of birds that are new to me and that's more than enough to keep me content at the moment... nice to have a goal though!
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Nice shot John!