Late winter is time of the year in Mt Clemens and the surrounding vicinity for sighting of Snow Owls. Over the years I have seen them flying down Wilson Street. They have now been reported at the Harley Ensign/South River boat launch. I saw one yesterday to the left of the gate on the condo roof.
In the day time if an interested person enters into the launch and drives as far as he or she is able into the parking lot there is a medium size grove of pines near the DNR office. In one of the pines you will find a saw-whet owl sleeping in the tree. Look for poop on the asphalt road. The owl is a 5-6″ tall bundle of feathers and can be very hard to see despite resting for the day in the lower branches. Kids love to see the saw-whet. Approach the area quietly, no loud talking or quick movements and there will be the pleasure of spotting the owl. It is very well camouflaged, so be attentive and you will find him or her.
I have seen owls, along with other bird of preys such as peregrine falcons and hawks throughout Mt Clemens’ neighborhoods. When you spot one immediately stop moving, freeze, and you might be surprised what can happen. Several years ago on a early morning walk I saw a falcon out of the corner of my eye and stopped. Ten to fifteen feet in front of me was a squirrel who turned out to be his prey. The peregrine made two attempts at Mr. Squirrel, but missed them both. I have seen these falcons take a pigeon out of the air, as I sat on my front porch. Do you realize the peregrine falcon is the fastest animal on earth in which a dive can be as fast at 240 mph. Look it up!
Several years ago on Halloween, I will never forget, two owls (I do not know what kind, it was too dark, past dusk) took up residence on our bird feeder in the front of the house for at least a half hour. This was witnessed by my family and scores of trick-or-treaters who were walking twenty feet from them on the sidewalk. It was an amazing experience for all.
There are hawks all around. I always see them on Cass Ave heading west over the Clinton River. They can show up along the river, in the neighborhoods, or anywhere were small animals and birds might be. Small dogs and cats can be the object of any bird of prey. There is at least one breeding pair of bald eagles on Lac St. Claire. I just sighted one the other morning about 8:00 AM driving out South River Road near the North Star Yacht Club.
I recommend going for a walk through the neighborhood either early morning or dusk and you have the best chance of seeing our friendly neighborhood birds of prey. Be alert for the “who” of the owls which can be in the softest tones high in the trees or in pines which provide optimum cover. But again no noise, be still, move slowly and try not to disturb our feathery friends. They have eyesight extraordinaire. Do not get too close to any wild animal. We do not want to disturb them. We are the intruders, not they. We need to live in harmony with nature. The enjoyment and pleasure of observing wildlife is all around us. If we, people, move in too close and disturb the animals, they will not want to be around us.