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Boreal Owl Research

On the final leg...
by Dan Hartman

April 12, 2022

     After an up and down March, meaning slow start to the month, lots of singing the 15th thru the 25th, then nothing, but a strong finish at the end.  Over all, we heard 50 songs from boreal owls, our highest level since 2015 and our third highest in our 13 year study frame.
     So as April began I hoped for the trend to continue.  As luck would have it, we were harassed by wind and snow.  After six days we heard only two songs.
     We were relieved when on the night of the 7th the weather had calmed down.  As Cindy and I walked out to the car at 9PM, a pair of foxes cried their mating calls.  The night was warm in the mid 30's.  A half moon cast shadows and no wind!
     At Post#1  All was silent.  Post #1.5 was also quiet.  This surprises me as we've heard him 14 times so far.  Post #2 is almost impossible to hear because of the nearby creek.  So not a good start.
     Post #3 A boreal called from it's usual spot, a couple hundred yards to the NW.
     Post #3.5 One called to the west and another to the east.
     Post #4 A boreal called to the NW.  The 10th time we've heard him, but the first call in a week.  Another called far to the NE.  We moved down the road and soon had him calling directly to the North.
     At Post #4.5 A boreal sang to the NW.  I've heard him there other years, but this was the first time this year.
     At Post #5 One called to the NE.  This is the second time I've heard him there.
     On to Post 5.5 A boreal called from the South.  Quite close.
     Post #6  Was silent as was Post #7
     Post #8 (our cabin) was also quiet.  It's been since the 23rd of March when he seems to have moved on.
     Since we were having such a good night, Cindy and I drove up to Sheep Creek and sure enough one called to the south.  That makes 9 boreals in all.  The first time we've reached that total since March 17th, 2012.
     The next two nights the calls continued totaling 11 over both nights.  But then the storms came and I've been shut down for two nights and tonight looks iffy.  We are up to 72 calls heard which trails only the 95 in 2015 and the 85 in 2010.  The next ten days should give valuable data for nest locations if the weather will cooperate.

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Boreal Owl