In honor of the photographer who captured a once-in-a-lifetime video of a great horned owl swimming in Lake Michigan, we have decided to compile a list of some of the best places to see not only the great horned owl, but other kinds of owl as well.
First on the list is Dawes Arboretum. Dawes is actually a place I hold very close to my heart. Growing up, it was like a diamond in the rough as far as state parks and wildlife sanctuaries go. One of my fondest memories was attending a nighthike held at the park. While walking, we could hear owls throughout the forest canopy. Though we didn't sight any on that particular night, other hikers have had better luck, reporting seeing great horned owls, barn owls, and more.
Next on the list is another favorite of mine: Cape Coral. Well, not really a favorite, but I usually visit family there once a year. And one of the things they told me about when they first moved there were the burrowing owls that make their nests under the ground. Sure enough, when I visited the first year, I saw plenty of these awesome birds. What first struck me was how tiny they are. You know Ron's owl, Pigwidgeon, from Harry Potter? Yeah, that small. Travelers can get close to the nests, and can see the birds both during the day and at night, but please be respectful and give these kick-ass birds plenty of space.
If you really want to see great horned owls, one of the most highly recommended places to do so is Letchworth State Park. If you're visiting the park, prime areas for an owl stake out is around open and secondary growth forests as well as open fields and cliffs. Park rangers also recommend paying close attention to the canopy as well as broken or hollowed out tree stumps where these majestic birds commonly nest.
If you're a Harry Potter fan, and want to see Hedwig in the wild, head over to the Edwin B Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge! Last year, a day before Thanksgiving, photographers captured an equally sensational photo of a snowy owl within the park. This year, park officials have yet to see the snowy owl, but have reported that many others are seeing the owl making its Southern migration.
Compiling a list like this naturally leaves out many others and disappoints many ornithology fans, so if you have other places to suggest, please leave a comment so we can correct any odious oversight!