Yellowstone Reports

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Owl Study Continues

Better Luck
by Dan Hartman

March 24, 2022

     Things are starting to pick up as we've gotten deeper into the owl study.

     After hearing 14 songs total for our first eight times out, we've now heard 20 songs our last four outings.  Bad weather and wind held us to only eight times the first 20 days and when we could go out we were averaging under 2 calls a night.  Also, we found we were battling not only the wind, but planes.  Sometimes 5-6 per hour.

     But, the last four nights, we had better luck with the wind and we've adjusted our excursions to leave one hour later.  Now we have only one plane per night.  I really feel the owls were tired of  competing with the loud jets filling the sky and had given up until the sky was silent.  (When a plane passes over, you really can't hear much for four minutes or so.)

     Anyway, on the 20th, we heard 5 boreals singing.

     Out on the 21st we pulled into Post#1 about 9:30PM and had a boreal calling to the east.  Just to our west a male great horned owl started up with the female overlapping the end of his calls.  Then a fox chimed in with its' high cry.  They were all still at it when we moved on.

     At Post#1.5 out faithful boreal was singing close by to the south.  He's now called six of my last seven outings.

     Post#2 was silent and is getting harder to hear because of a nearby roaring creek.

     Post#3 was also silent with some wind.

     Post#3.5  A boreal called from just above our 2015 nest site.

     Post#4  This has been our most consistant boreal and he was singing again to the northwest.  The eighth time we've heard him.

    Post#5  All was quiet.

    Post#6  A boreal sang to the southwest.  Pretty far out.

    Post#7  Singing boreal to the south.

    Post#8  Our cabin.  A boreal blasted away from just a short distance to the northeast.  He ended each song with a warble.

    Also, a flyng squirrel zoomed in over our heads.

    So, there it was.  Seven boreals singing and two great horneds hooting.

    On the 22nd, we got 5 boreals singing.

    Then last night we battled wind at half the posts and came home with only three songs.

    However, over the last four days we've now gotten at least one boreal at all ten listening posts.

    Of course, we always keep an eye out for McNeils' wolverine, but no luck.  We have seen seven fox and three flying squirrels.

    Oh, by the way, McNeil, if you are reading this, the horned owl is back in the cave nest in your "back yard".