The Owls of North America Symposium

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Conference Overview and Registration

UPDATE! The Ohio Ornithological Society’s upcoming symposium on February 15-17th is now sold out!

The Owls of North America Symposium will be held on February 15-17, 2013 at Mohican State Park in Loudonville, OH and will be presented by OOS and the Greater Mohican Audubon Society. The Ohio Ornithological Society is proud to present this symposium offering a spectacular weekend of fun, fellowship, and birding. You will hear great speakers, search for Ohio owls and winter finches, and catch up with birding friends. Events include talks from Denver Holt, founder of the Owl Research Institute, Tom Bartlett & Bob Scott Placier who will share their research of banding Northern Saw-whet Owls in Ohio and Gail Laux from The Ohio Bird Sanctuary who will teach us the evolution and dynamics of Ohio owls. On Friday evening, enjoy snacks, drinks from the bar and music from members of The Rain Crows! Saturday afternoon, travel to one of our field trip locations to search for owls and other winter birds. Saturday evening, we will offer the chance to get up close and personal with one of the most adorable birds on the planet! - A Saw-whet Owl! On Sunday we will wrap up the weekend with field trips in and around Mohican State Park. We offer special pricing for young birders between the ages of 12 and 18. See symposium registration form for details.

Conference Descriptions


Greater Mohican Lodge
6:00 PM Early Registration 7:30 PM Social

Early registration opens Friday night. Please join fellow birders for drinks from the bar, snacks and a performance by the Rain Crows!


7:00 to 8:30 AM

Saturday registration opens at 7:00 AM. There will be a continental breakfast and a chance to visit with our vendors.


Tom Bartlett and Bob Scott Placier
9:00 AM

Bartlett and Placier are among Ohio's leading experts on the Northern Saw-whet Owl and between them they have over 25 years' experience banding Northern Saw-whets in Ohio. Tom has been conducting his research up on Kelley's Island and Bob has been in the southern part of the state in Vinton County. Their program will include the basic biology of the tiny little owls and how and why they band them. They will share their experiences through out the years in their different locations, including some very unusual recaptures.


Gail Laux, Ohio Bird Sanctuary
11:00 AM

Laux will discuss and illustrate the diversity of owl species and their origins through the use of live owls from the Ohio Bird Sanctuary's educational collection. Learn about how owls have developed specific adaptation and behaviors to find their roles in their ecological niche. After 25 years of working closely with many of Ohio's owl species, she will share her personal observations on owl species and their behavior.


Mohican State Park area and Holmes County
1:00 PM – 4:00 PM

This winter is predicted to produce an excellent flight of northern finches so we will be in search of Pine and Evening Grosbeaks, Red and White-winged Crossbills, Pine Siskins and Common and Hoary Redpolls throughout Mohican State Forest. Join us on one of these fantastic winter field trips, as we will be on the lookout for winter finches and all of the resident owls including Eastern Screech, Great-horned and Barred Owls with the possibility of finding a Northern Saw-whet Owl! Our knowledgeable guides will be at each location to assist you. Click here for full information about field trips.


Denver Holt,Owl Research Institute
7:15 PM

Snowy Owls of the Arctic

The Snowy Owl is one of North America's most magnificent and beautiful creatures. It is the second largest bird of prey in the arctic tundra, surpassed only by the Golden Eagle. During the non-breeding season Snowy Owls migrate and wander throughout Canada, the northern United States, and a few find their way down to Ohio. Last year, record numbers of migrating Snowy's were recorded in the lower 48 states; one owl was even reported in the state of Hawaii. Denver Holt has been studying owls for over thirty-five years and he will give us insight into the natural history of this fascinating species.


Following the evening program. Join us for some up close and personal looks at Saw-whet Owls!

Denver Holt

Denver is a wildlife researcher and is founder and president of the Owl Research Institute, a non-profit organization located in Charlo, Montana. He believes in long-term field studies as the primary means to understand the natural world. Denver has studied owls in North and Central America. In 2000, Denver was named Montana's Wildlife Biologist of the Year by the Wildlife Society of North America. Denver's Saturday night keynote talk is "Snowy Owls of the Arctic." After last winter's snowy owl invasion of the U.S., this program will give us insight into the natural history of this fascinating species.

Tom Bartlett

Tom is the Research Associate, for the Department of Ornithology, at Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Tom has over 25 years of birding experience in Ohio, including bird banding experience, running bird banding stations at Springville Marsh State Nature Preserve, Kelleys Island, and Winous Point Shooting Club. He is a member and officer of numerous birding and conservation organizations, and has served on the Ohio Bird Records Committee. Tom was Field Editor for The Ohio Cardinal for many years, has published numerous articles (both scientific and general birding) and has written a book on Birds of Seneca County, Ohio (1989). Tom is now a retired secondary school instructor of biological sciences.

Gail Laux

Gail Laux is the Founder /Director of the Ohio Bird Sanctuary (OBS). Gail has spent the last 24 years working with and studying owls. Her owl knowledge has been gained through hands-on experience and by observing Ohio's owl species both in the wild and captivity. The OBS was founded in 1988 as the Richland County Raptor Rehabilitation Center, which was originally operated on the private property of the Lauxs. We're thrilled to have Gail Laux and the OBS-along with several of their live owls-at The Owls of North America Symposium.

Bob Scott Placier

A native of Chillicothe, Bob now lives in beautiful Vinton County, the only one in Ohio without a McDonald's, which suits him just fine. An Ohio University Alumni, Bob has taught at Hocking College in the School of Natural Resources for 30 years. He a licensed bird bander, with a special passion for Northern Saw-whet Owls. Bob also serves on the board of the Ohio Ornithological Society as our South-east Regional Director.