NEWBURYPORT, MA — Officials at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge have temporarily closed the Bill Forward Wildlife Observation Blind to all public access due to concerns that a recent, dramatic increase in the numbers of visitors to that area could cause unnecessary disturbance to an active great horned owl nest that was recently discovered. Such disturbance, if left unchecked, can contribute to nest failure. The breeding season is a very vulnerable period for most wildlife species.
Refuge officials are considering ways to provide the public with limited opportunities to see the owl nest in a manner that will not cause adverse impacts on nesting success. Once finalized, those plans will be announced through the refuge website, http://www.fws.gov/northeast/parkerriver/.
There are multiple opportunities for owl enthusiasts to view active great horned owl nests via a number of online raptor nest cams: www.ustream.tv/okcowlcam; www.livewildlifecams.com/Ms%20Harvey.html; and www.ustream.tv/channel/WolfRiverCam-New-London
A number of interesting fact sheets about great horned owls and their natural history are also available on the web. Check out: http://extension.umd.edu/publications/pdfs/fs802.pdf and http://www.ncwildlife.org/Portals/0/Learning/documents/Profiles/greathornedowl.pdf.
Updates regarding the status of the Bill Forward Blind closure will be announced through the refuge website.