There is just something about going owling in the dead of winter. Its cold, its lonely, its tedious, and its tripping over your feet, over a log, over a snowbank because invariably, your light has frozen up and won't work and wherever the owls are you're not and trying to get to them in the middle of the night is always through stuff humans weren't meant to walk through.
Throughout human history, the symbolism of the owl has almost always represented evil omens, demons, illness, disease, and death to many ancient cultures. The Boreal owl, Aegolius funereus, means literally the owl of death or funerals, corresponding to a Norse/Germanic belief that this owl would show up on houses of those soon to be departed from this life.
I've had a little luck finding owls this winter...
The great grays above were from the cold of northern Roseau County, Minnesota and are down in the bog, just not down in numbers. Back in 2013, I wrote a blog "Pardon the Irruption." when I stumbled upon an irruption of GGOW at this same spot, and saw 31, then buried my car and had to get rescued on the Canadian border. An irruption is defined as any sudden appearance of a lot of birds not usually found in a given spot for some reason, there. That was my second hard core irruption. In Denmark I ended up in the middle of nearly a hundred of the cool birds when I was picking up my first Volvo.
The only irruption going on in South Dakota is white-winged crossbills. They have been all over the state and have moved into Brookings where I got my lifer state bird last year.. On Tuesday, I stumbled upon 19 of the critters in a diminutive cemetery just west of the Minnesota, South Dakota line, ten miles from my house. The first ebird tick in Grant County ever....
Great Horned Owls are out and about.
Here is a Dueul County SD bird that was pushed out of its favorite sleeping spot by church goers at a small country church at a place called Zoar
I also stumbled upon one that was watching a group of feeding pheasant intently near the shore of Lake Traverse in Roberts County, SD.
Tis' the season of Snowy Owls unfortunately they seem to be either way north of me or much farther south, as we are in some sort of nadir for them. I just so rarely see snowy owls near our house in Milbank, although I did have one a few years ago fly over our backyard.