Yellowstone Reports

Printer-friendly version

2023 Great Gray Owl Nest Log

June 16th - July 8th
by Dan Hartman

Aug. 3, 2023

     June 19th  (Gone for three days of guiding and bad weather.  On June 18th rained for 16 hours, heavy with wind gusts).  Arrived at 6:40am.  Chicks sitting in front of female.  Her and chicks both begging. Only see two chicks so far.  Cold and damp after the all day rain yesterday.
Female hopped up on nest top to preen at 7:35am.  Still see only two chicks.  Back on the nest at 7:45.  Begging stopped.  Female suddenly left nest at 7:50am.  Heard female begging to my left, back in the timber.
After awhile I saw that she had moved to a perch above me and to the north.  There she continued to preen and beg for the next 45 minutes.  She's now about 50 yards from me.  Finally, she flew off to the north to perch 50 feet almost at the top of a pine.
Still only see 2 chicks and the female seems to be searching for the absent male.
Clear and cool.  It's now 8:45.  9:30 female perched just north of me.  Still seems to be searching for male.  Still 2 chicks.  While the female begs and looked for the male a vole scampered around me for 5 minutes.  Left at 10:00am.
     June 20th  Arrived at 8:30am  Rained all night.  Snow on the peaks 38degrees.  Female on nest with the 2 chicks.  She is soaked.  Chicks begging and preening off and on.  At 10:15 female suddenly flies off to the north.  A few minutes and I spot her perched behind me.  She then moved closer and preened.  Also appears to hunt.  Hooted when something unseen approached.  Rain and snow with chicks continuing to beg from the nest.  Left at 11:20am.
     June 21st  Cindy and I arrived at 7:30 am.  Male arrived with gopher at 7:40am.  Female was on top of nest.  At 7:45 female back in nest then back on top.  She flew to a perch above us to our left.  Flew off into the forest at 8:10am.  Heard her beg softly to our left after awhile.  Left at 9:15am.
     June 22nd  29 degrees at the cabin.  Arrived with Cindy at 7:25am.  Female off the nest perched above us. flew off at 7:45am.  Female begged.  Chicks quiet. Saw sharp-shined hawk on way out.  Left at 9:00am.
     June 23rd  Arrived at 6:20am.  Female atop nest, but flew off in next minute.  One chick might have already been fed.  Only one begging.  At 6:45am female hooting to the north.  The hooting became more distant as she flew away, then I head cooing as she received the delivery.  she hooted as she flew in with a gopher and fed the smaller chick.  So the larger had already been fed.  She then preened the chicks for five minutes before flying off to the north.  At 7:25am female began hooting.  Male flew in with gopher, soon joined on top of nest by female.  Before she could take the delivery, male gave it to larger chick and flew off.  Female sat with chicks for a few mintues before flying off to the north to perch.  Chicks flapping wings a lot this morning.
     June 25th  Arrived at 6:25am.  Female of the nest, out of sight.  chicks begging. (rained all day yesterday, Beartooth pass closed by snow drifts.)  Cold and wet this morning, but clear skies.  Female flew in with gopher at 8:30am.  Let at 8:50am.
     June 26th  Cindy and I arrived at 7:35am.  One chick begging off and on.  Female flew in at 8:30am with gopher.  Chicks became more active, lots of wing flapping.  Left at 9:45am.
     June 27th  I arrived at 6:45am.  Big chick begging. Rained and hailed yesterday afternoon into the night.  Wet this morning and 37 degrees.  Female flew in with gopher at 7:05am. Fed smaller chick.  Large chick begging more rapidly.  At 7:50am squirrel climbed up to nest.  Chicks opened their wings and scared her away.  At 8:00am female flew in with gopher and fed larger chick.  We have a squirrel nest in a cavity just 20 feet from our blind.  Left at 8:50am.
     June 28th  Cindy and I arrived at 7:35am.  Chicks begging.  Female hooted to our left (north). Mosquitoes worst ever.  Rained last night.  Left at 8:50am.
     June 30th  Cindy and I arrived at 7:20am.  Female sitting atop the nest.  At 7:30am she climbed into nest and began pulling at something, then could be seen feeding it to the chicks in small pieces.  This contined until 7:55am when she hopped to the nest top and reached down to preen the chicks.  She flew off at 8:05am and perched in the woods behind.  At 8:15am she flew off to the south.
     July 1st  One chick out.  Second chick calling all morning.  Found the first chick up a leaner, 12 feet off the ground.
     July 2nd  Arrived at 6:25am.  Chick still in nest.  First chick up same leaner, only higher.  At 9:00am, chick in nest  suddenly hopped up on nest rim and began flapping.  After a few minutes hopped back into the nest.  Did this four more times in the next 2 hours.  I left at 11:30 to charge batteries.  Chick was sleeping.
Went back at 5PM.  Chick had fledged and was found 50 yards from nest 6 feet off the ground up a leaner.  First chick hadn't moved.  Female flew about, perching in four different locations.  Left at 7:30pm.
     July 5th  was back in the evening.  First chick high in a dead tree, 50 feet up.  Second chick up leaner 30 feet off the ground.
     July 8th.  Arrived at 7:00am.  Both chicks high in live trees.  Hard to see.

For help referencing place names, use the Yellowstone SpotR app:
    • Download Yellowstone SpotR for Apple iOS
    • Download Yellowstone SpotR for Google Android