Ontario Birders:
It is with great sadness that I send this post tonight after hearing reports 
from two different sources. A male Northern Hawk Owl first appeared in a field 
along the Monck Road, a very busy road east of Orillia, in mid-November and was 
first reported to OntBirds on December 10th. I posted it again since he seemed 
to be doing well in the field with hunting and finding prey, mostly meadow 
voles. Then more and more people came after more postings from others and he 
was photographed many times by many people. Before I posted it we had checked 
with the landowner, a farmer, and he had no concerns about people visiting his 
land but the hawl owl could been seen well from the road without going on 
private property. My concern was for the owl after this but he seemed to handle 
the people standing in the field well and ignoring them while hunting. I was 
out yesterday afternoon after buidling winter bird feeders for Kids For Turtles 
Environmental Education at
 Home Depot in the morning and could not find the owl all afternoon. Today, I 
visited the area again and talked to the landowner but could not find the hawk 
owl. We had someone who could see the hawk owl from her kitchen 
window watching and noting the many people that were coming to see 
the bird.  She told me that many people were there Friday morning and in the 
field baiting the hawk owl with mice to get it to come down perhaps for better 
photos. She told me that the bird was hunting in her yard late Friday afternoon 
but that she had not seen the bird since that time. There was a post on 
Ontbirds on Friday from a local person who visited the area on Friday but had 
not checked with the landowner. She ordered two people off the land then called 
the police on the third person who refused to leave. I started to become 
concern when I could not find the hawk owl Saturday afternoon or all day 
Sunday. I usally found him within minutes by scanning the
 perches from my car while driving slowly down the road. 
I have received unconfirmed reports that people visiting the site Saturday 
morning had photos of the hawk owl dead on the side of the road after being hit 
by a car with a mouse still clutched in its talons. My guess, which is 
unconfirmed, is that after being ordered off the property on Friday people 
baited for the owl with mice from the side of Monck Road instead of in the 
field where they were baiting on Friday. I know that banders and photographers 
bait for owls with mice which has always concerned me but if the owls were 
given the mice and the baiting was in a safe area for the owls then some argued 
that it did not hurt the owls. I can not prove that people were baiting from 
the road Saturday morning but I have reports they were from the field on Friday 
and the hawk owl was reported to have a mouse in its talons on Saturday 
morning. It appears that something has brought him close to the road. He had 
been hunting on both sides of the road since he
 first appeared and had not been hit in almost two months and never hunted near 
the road since most of the voles were in the field eating the second cut under 
the snow which the farmer did not remove last fall from these fields. If anyone 
can provide more information please email me. I have been trying to decide if I 
should post about the five Great Gray Owls we have had in our area for the last 
few weeks but I don't think I will be doing this now.
Bob Bowles
Orillia, Ontario
 
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