I've been waiting to write about my boreal owl study until I had something to report. Well, I'm now over three weeks into the singing season and I've yet to hear a single owl call.
I knew going in it could be a rough spring because of the snow depth, but zero boreals????
Here is some past history:
2010 March 1st 23 inches of snow on the level
March 31st 15 inches of snow on the level
A total of 90 boreal songs heard. Also great horned, saw-whet, pygmy and great gray owls.
2011 March 1st 42 inches of snow on the level
March 31st 51 inches of snow on the level
A total of 4 boreal songs heard.
2012 March 1st 41 inches of snow on the level
March 31st 21 inches of snow on the level
A total of 69 boreal songs heard. Also great horned, saw-whet, and pygmy owls
2013 March 1st 25 inches of snow on the level
March 31st 19 inches of snow on the level
A total of 19 boreal songs heard.
2014 March 1st 54 inches of snow on the level
March 24th 45 inches of snow on the level
No owls calling yet.
My study runs through April so I still have more chances for singing boreal owls. I've been completely shut out.
As you can see snow depth isn't the only reason for the lack of courting owls. In 2013 we had very little snow depth, but the absence of singing owls probably resulted in the previous dry summer which would cause low prey survival.
Interestingly,George Bumann found a perched boreal on top of the ridge above Warm Springs. The reason for the owl being so high could have been the wind swept slopes and the accesibility to prey.
Len from the ranch has been hearing great horneds in Lamar Canyon nightly. And the horned owls are back in Mammoth again this year.
Early next month Cindy and I'll make the drive around to Cody and Sunlight Basin to check on my great gray nests.
Well, I'll coninue to go out until there is no longer a reason. Mostly because I enjoy being under the stars and listening to the night. I'll be remembering triumphs of the past and dream of adventures in the future.