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Great Gray Owl Nest Log #4

Chicks are growing
by Dan Hartman

July 13, 2022

     June 21st    Arrived at 7:45 am.  Watched male hunting in the aspen behind my hide.  Everything was soaked as it had rained all night.

     At 10:15 the female suddenly became excited and started hooting.  A few seconds and she darted off the nest from a seated position.  I've never seen her so excited.

     A minute passed and she was back carrying a jumping mouse in her bill.  Obviously she had received the food from the male.

     She handed the mouse down to the smallest chick, which tried eating its meal whole.  After a bit of gulping it fell out and lay on the bottom of the nest.  Presently the female spotted it, picked it up and placed it back in the chicks mouth.  Once again the chick began gulping.  When ever it stopped to rest, its mother would tap him on the head and it would start gulping again.  Finally just the tail was left hanging from its bill.  And that's how it stayed for the rest of the morning.

     On my way out I spotted a grizzly heading my way below the aspen grove behind the nest.  I adjusted my way down to circle wide of the bear and watched as it disappeared into the trees near my hide.

    June 22nd    Arrived at 7:50am.  Female is begging from the nest.  Two fresh piles of bear scat 30 feet from my hide.

     A red-tailed hawk perched just behind my hide hunting for a time.  At 9:45 a sharp shinned hawk flew in and screamed at the owl family for five minutes or so.

     Female begged all morning, but no food arrived.

     June 23rd    Arrived at 8:30am.  Female begging.  Coyotes howled to my left, seeming to approach quite close before they grew silent.  I left at 10:30 am, no feedings.

     I was reminded of how many species of wildlife are trying to raise young in this boggy patch of timber.  Coyotes, marten, sharp shinned hawk and red-tailed hawk.

     Is there enough food to go around?

     June 24th    Arrived at 5:30PM  I thought I'd try an evening watch to see if any food might survive.  Female was off the nest begging.  For the next three hours she moved from perch to perch, hitting the ground at least three times, but did not catch any prey. 

     I must admit, even though I'm not witnessing any feedings, (I'm rarely at the nest more than three hours per day), the chicks are growing even starting to change from white to gray in coloring.

     Female returned to the nest at 7:45 pm.  Chicks were very active, doing wing stretching, standing up tall to peer out of the nest and lots of chirping.  I left at 8:30PM.

     June 25th    Cindy and I arrived at 5PM for a quick look.  Female hunting away from the nest.  I wandered what would happen if the marten or a hawk would suddenly arrive.  Could she get back to the nest in time to protect the chicks?

     No food arrived.  Chicks calling off and on but mostly slept.


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Great Gray Owl Nest






Great Gray Owl Nest