I've continued to listen for owls at night then search for their possible nest sites by day. One night I had a boreal calling in a tree five feet off the road, but search as I might, I couldn't spot him. On an overcast day last week, I suddenly had a boreal calling at 1PM in the afternoon. When I returned home, another was calling below our cabin. I went out listening for more and came across a pygmy in Ice Box canyon.
Yesterday, the first day of Spring, Cindy, Kelly and I left the still snow covered landscape around our cabin and traveled north to the warm summer like weather west of Bozeman. Along the way we spotted robins, mountain bluebirds, sandhill cranes and great blue herons. All signs of Spring.
At a fishing access, we searched the river bottoms for saw-whet owl perches. Within minutes we found one, then another. The age of the pellets and whitewash told us the little owls had moved on a month ago. We searched on. Under a particularly thick spot I found 20-30 pellets. These were too large for saw-whet owls and too small to be from a great horned. Long-eared owls! The pellets were still black but not wet. Probably a week or so old. So close!
On our way back, we took a side road and came across a great horned owl sitting in an old hawk nest.