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Boreal Owl Study Has Come To An End

A very successful year!
by Dan Hartman

April 26, 2023

     My spring boreal owl study officially ended ten days ago.  I normally start March 1st and continue to April 15th.

     I'm not saying there aren't more owls to be heard after the 15th, it's just by then I've been out 25 nights or so and should have gathered enough information to get a feel for the upcoming nesting season.

     I've found one nest and know where two more are certainly nesting.  Also threee or four more sites that could still produce a nest.

     Last night, Cindy and I ventured out for a listen.   We wanted to see if the signing boreals have slowed, also if saw-whet owls have arrived.

     At post #1 a boreal called far to the north.  Post #1.5 gave us a boreal calling to the south where I know of a nest site.  It's surprising he hasn't found a mate yet.  Just to the east a saw-whet called insistantly, not pausing for minutes at a time.  Just a bit further a boreal sang.  This was confusing as he had stopped three weeks ago and I had thought it might have nested.

     At Post #2 all was silent.  This owl has most certainly nested, judging by the many nights of singing.  However I can't get into the area to confirm this.

     Post #3 has been inconsistant and was quiet tonight.

     Post #4 was quiet and should be as I've already located this nest.  This owl called 19 times.

     Post #5 was also quiet as I'm positive they've nested.  I just haven't found it yet.  This owl called 17 of the 24 nights we were out.

     Post #6 was calling 200 yeards from a nesting cavity I had located two days ago.  Obviously he still hasn't found a mate.

     Post #7 was calling cross the river, and seems to have finally claimed a nest but has no mate yet.

     Post #8 was calling but continues to move every night.

     Post #9 was also calling east of our cabin and another called to the west.  I don't figure to get a nest out of either.

     Post #10 was the best of the night.  He called so close I was able to find the tree he called from.  As we looked up into the branches, a shooting star streaked across the sky.  A saw whet called just down the road.

     Obviously the snow depth has caused the boreal mating season to last longer this year.  I expect the owls will continue calling into May.  However, I would not expect these males to find mates.

     So to summarize, we ended going out 25 nights, hearing 150 boreal songs.This far eclipsed the 105 record we had in 2015.

     So a very successful year for the boreals!  And as I found in the past, the other owl species will also have a good year.


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