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Boreal Owl Study Continues

Rising Snow Levels
by Dan Hartman

March 24, 2023

     As we've reached the halfway mark of our boreal owl study or survey, several things have come to light.

     First off:  We've already heard more songs in the month of March than any of our previous thirteen years.  86 so far with still a week to go.  Our previous high was 65, a normal average usually ends up in the 40's.

      Problem is, the rest of March has two snowstorms in its forecast,which will not only make it hard to hear owls at night, but will make hunting difficult for the boreals.

     Now I've had three other years where the season started strong, but as winter hung on and snow continued to deepen, the singing stopped and I was not able to locate any nesting locations.

     So far this season, with Cindy and I able to venture out into the night on 14 occassions, we've heard 15 different boreals singing with a high of 11 in one night. Of the 15, 6 have centered in a specific location, meaning they're at a nesting cavity.

     Now will they attract a female?  Will the rising snow depth put an end to the nesting season?  If they do nest, can they find enough food?

     One positive, it was obviously a wet summer last year, so prey species should be plentiful if the owls can get to them.