Yellowstone Reports

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Evening Silhouette

by Dan Hartman

April 11, 2016

     After our successful owling trip on the other side of the mountain I was anxious to do my owl run.  So the very night we got back Cindy and Kelly and I were out listening for singing owls.  And we did hear some.  Four boreals and two horneds.

    Saturday night I thought I'd change things up a bit.  Instead of waiting for an hour after dark, I would make my run at dusk.  This might give me a chance to find some pygmy owls as well as boreals.

     When I got to the location of last years pygmy owl nest, which this year I've neither heard or seen anything so far, I saw two robins sitting high in an aspen.  Wondering what they were up to, I swung my binoculars to a dead tree nearby.  There I found that old familiar silhouette.  A pygmy!  Once again, in theory, he could be sitting near his nest.

     I moved on to my next listening post.


     Then as I was about to leave, I heard that soft whistle.  A pygmy was calling.  The wind had picked up so it took me some time to center him, but finally decided it was back to the west.  I drove back down the road 1/4 of a mile and listened.  He was right beside me to the north.  I looked and looked but couldn't find him when he suddenly flew in to perch right above me.

     I've heard this guy before but this is the first time I've actually seen him.  He moves around so much, it's really hard to tell where his nest might end up.

     Moving on, I stopped to check a cavity I think contains a boreal nest.  I've heard singing from the tree that holds the cavity on two occasions.  And I've discovered feathers around the hole.  Still I haven't actually seen the owl.  As I approached the tree something flew in from the north.  I quickly glassed the cavity.  Just in time, as the boreal landed beside the hole, then slipped inside.

     How about that!

     I'd been out an hour and had seen two pygmy owls and a boreal.  As I got out of the car to walk to the cabin door, a horned owl called from the north.


View slide show

Crescent Moon

First Pygmy Owl

Second Pygmy Owl