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2023 Great Gray Owl Nest Log

July 21st thru August 1st

by Dan Hartman
Aug. 31, 2023

     July 21st  Arrived at 6:40am  Chicks calling.  Found them sitting side by side 50 feet up a lodge pole.  No sign of  the female.  Chicks continued to call, preened and stretched.  At 7:45 flew 30 yards to a dead tree.  Perched one above the other.  Male flew in with a gopher at 8:00am.  Chick carried it around a while before eating.  A gray jay harassed it from above.  Chick flew off into the dense forest and continued to call.  Perches were hidden in live trees.  At 9:40am male perched above me with a gopher.  Flew into a spruce and fed the unseen chick.  Left at 10am.
     July 22nd  Arrived at 6:50am.  Chicks weren't begging.  Finally found chicks sitting together 60 feet up a dead tree at 7:05am.  No clear shot but did film through branches.  Chicks preened each other.  Adult owl hooted from the west.  Chicks flew off to the southwest at 8:45am.  Finally located one chick on an open perch at 9:00am.  Other chick called just behind but I could not see it.  Male flew in and fed my chick a gopher at 9:35am.  Flew in 15 minutes later and tried to feed the same chick, then carried the gopher to the unseen chick.  Left at 10am.
     July 23rd  Filmed a grizz and cubs on the way in this morning.  Arrived at 7:05am.  Chicks silent.  Finally at 7:45 I spotted a chick 50 feet up at the edge of a small meadow.  At 8:00am they began beggging and I located the smaller chick 50 feet farther into the woods.  Male arrived with a gopher and fed larger chick at 8:15am.  No more feedings.  Left at 10am.
     Great horned owl at Beartooth Lake nest has two white chicks.  Two and a half to three weeks old.
     July 25th  Arrived at 7:40am.  Chicks not calling.  Male flew by me at 8:00am and perched low.  After a bit it flew out into the open to perch in a lone dead tree.  Eventually it dove to the ground and flew up with a vole, which it carried up to a low perch in the dead tree and ate it.  It hunted from two other perches before flying back into the woods at 8:40am.  Finally at 9:00am  I found the chicks perched together 50 feet up a dead tree.  No feedings.  I left at 9:55am.
     July 27th  Arrived at 7:45am.  Ran into adult sitting in timber.  Found chicks perched and begging, 50 yards apart.  Was owl perched male or female? (acted like female).  Smaller chick perched nearby on top of 60 foot snag.  Soon flew to other perches.   On the way in Cindy spotted a black bear before Pilot Creek.  Left at 9:00am.  Set a camera trap on a gopher hole on our way out.
     July 28th  Cindy and I arrived at the grays at 5:45pm.  Got several night shots on the camera trap.  Found the chicks halfway south of the nest.  One perched 10 feet up a leaner and the other up at 20 foot leaner 40 yards farther south.  Located the male hunting past the end of timber.  Changed perches three times.  No luck hunting.  At one time he perched 30 feet from us.  Left at 7:30pm.
     July 30th  Arrived at end of the timber at 7:30am.  Male perched in hunting tree.  At 7:40am he hit the ground 50 yards into the meadow.  Hopped around a bit then flew back up.  Five minutes and he dove into the bushes.  A minute and he flew back to the dark trees.  Five minutes and he flew 75 yards into the meadow to the northwest.  Hopped and pecked before flying back into the timber carrying a gopher.  I soon heard the chicks begging.  Five minutes and he flew back out into the hunting tree.  At 8:05am he dove to a spot 30 yards from me, but behind a bush.  Presently he flew back to the trees carrying a gopher.  Once again I heard beggings.  By the robins chirpping and squirrels chattering, he seemed to fly to the east.  I entered the timber and soon found the chicks.  They both flew west.  I located them again.  Perched 40 feet up a lodgepole, sitting 40 yards apart.  Mosquitoes are terrible.  Left at 10am.
     August 1st  Arrived at 7:00am.  Found male hunting on my way in.  He was perched atop an 8 foot spruce.  Presently it flew farther across the meadow to perch low on deadfall.  Found the chicks just across the creek.   One perched 20 feet up a dead tree and the other 50 feet up another dead tree 30 yards away.  The male flew in and hooted back in the timber to the south.  The high chick flew that direction and the feeding happened out of sight.  Found the male on a low perch.  Left at 9:30am.


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