Many birdwatchers are fanatical about observing owls. Some even invest in infrared equipment for night viewing. Owls can become very spooked by humans and may abandon their nests and young if people get too close. Owl calls may upset the birds causing them to flee their territory.
A good way to observe owls without disturbing them is to listen to their calls instead of trying to see them up close. Owl calls are very species specific, so precise identification of owl species is possible using this technique. The best way to observe owls up close is at zoos and aviaries.
Because of the declining numbers of some owl species, conservationists are now trying to create nesting and roosting structures. Owl boxes are popular with Barn Owls. Other owl species, especially the larger ones, are more reluctant, but they have been observed raising young in manmade nests.
Because they help keep the rodent population down, Barn Owls are well liked by farmers. Some barns are even purposely designed to include owl entry doors and nesting rooms.