With Post COVID-19 safety measures curtailing indoor activities and social gatherings since March of 2019, West Islanders have continued to throng the nature trails and bird-watching spots, together with photography.
The owls are prevalent if social media posts are anything to go by. This prompted Pointe-Claire to run a health notice requesting all visitors remain in designated areas, maintain social distancing, and not disturb the bird. This is particularly important because the bird is known to nest in February and March.
Around this time, the owl cherishes security and a sense of calm. The bird needs its rest during the day as it looks after its eggs or young during the night, the city noted. Barred owls make up the three species at the Terra Cotta, together with the easter screech and the great-horned owl.
In 2019, Terra Cotta nature park was made much more accessible to the public during the winter for sports like snowshoeing. However, not everyone loved the idea of welcoming visitors to the park. It is excellent having visitors go out to watch the bird in its natural setting. Some even think its an eco-friendly.
Kyle Elliot, a natural resources professor at McGill University, noted that bird photography has taken root during this period. He added that it helps create awareness of the outside environment, but it is not unheard for people to target them for the birds. He advised photographers to do so from a safe distance. Banging on a tree or calling the bird out in an attempt to wake it up is a big no.
Regarding the bird’s upcoming mating season, he stated that this is a sensitive period when food is in limited supply. Their home range is approximately 300 hectares for the horned and barred owl, although this figure varied significantly. Once they choose a spot they like, they will return there, as is Terra Cotta’s case, he noted.