Parks and Recreation to host ‘Owling’ program at Indian Crossing Trails Park


Eastern Screech Owl. Photo submitted

The Tecumseh Parks and Recreation Department’s “Owling at Indian Crossing Trails Park” will take place on January 22 and 23 from 6 to 8 p.m. on both nights at the Globe Mill Pond entrance at 703 Chicago Blvd. Friday, Jan. 22 is open to adults only, ages 18 and up, while Friday, Jan, 23 is open to all ages. Cost is $6 per person, $5 for Tecumseh residents.

“Owling” is defined as hiking in the woods after dusk and calling for owls. Recreation programmer Sarah Gilmore will be leading the hike.

“A lot of parks in Tecumseh are a great habitat to do this kind of program,” Gilmore said. “The type of owls we’re looking for are eastern screeching owls. They’re not very big, so they don’t need a big area to call home. People don’t usually go out and call for owls, so we’re showing them how to do it the correct way.”

Eastern screech owls are six to eight inches tall, and are sometimes mistaken for baby great horned owls due to their stocky look and feathers on top of head. They eat mice, insects, small song birds and reptiles. Eastern screech owls nest in the cavities of trees, and sometimes human made nesting boxes.

Gilmore has led multiple owling programs, and says Indian Crossing Trails Park is the perfect location for such an activity. “We’ll stay on the trail. We’re just listening for an answer,” Gilmore said. “Usually they’ll come closer to what’s making the sound in order to intimidate the intruder. We want the owls to have free reign.”

As the group calls for the owls, the birds will hopefully advance closer, telling intruders to leave certain territories. “We’ll use a few recordings, a territorial call,” Gilmore said. “If it’s not done the right way you’re going to scare the owl out of its territory. When you let the wild owl ‘win,’ that’s what you really want.”

Other types of owls may be heard on the tour. Gilmore said she wouldn’t be surprised if great horned owls would be among the birds heard or seen on the hike. “That may be a little worrisome, because great horned owls can eat eastern screech owls.

“It’s a chance to do something a little out of the ordinary,” Gilmore said. “The owls are starting to define their territory, so it’s a good time of the year. In a couple months it’ll be too late, because they’ll have babies and you don’t want to bother them. There’s a chance to come out to hear or see an owl.”

Heavy winter attire and sturdy shoes are recommended. Guests are asked not to bring flashlights. Space is limited and pre-registration is required. Participants can register by stopping in the Smith Recreation Center, calling the center at 423.5602, or by visiting the website at


Tecumseh Herald


110 E. Logan St.
P.O. Box 218
Tecumseh, MI 49286

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