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2023 Great Gray Owl Nest Log

by Dan Hartman

July 18, 2023

May 13th

Cindy and I climbed up to the nest May 13th and were happy to find the female sitting tight in the snag top.

Another exciting summer!!!

May 21st

Checked on the nest. She was facing me and when she repositioned to her right a half hour later, I was able to spot 2 eggs.  Every half hour or so she would rotate to her right until she ended facing me again 2 hours later.  Each time she would take care to place her brood patch over the eggs.

Left at 9:30am

May 25th

She was off the nest when I arrived.  I could see two eggs.  At first I was concerned they might have abandoned, but she soon appeared and settled back on the nest.   Male arrived within minutes with much hooting and begging sounds.  She ate the gopher he brought and settled down to stare at me.  Saw 3 eggs!!

May 29th

Kelly and I arrived at 7am, the male hooted several times to our left.  Female flew off the nest at 7:10am  Kelly spotted at least one tiny chick.  Female returned at 7:17am.  Male hooted off and on.

May 31st

Arrived at the nest at 6:50am.  Female feeding unseen chicks.  At 7:00am we hear a crack to our left.  At 7:10am Cindy spots a cinnamon black bear coming our way.  Female stopped feeding and stared at the bear.  Bear came within 30 feet of us before he noticed.  He then stared at us  bit then raced off.  Crashing through the woods.  Male flew in and perched behind the nest.  After a bit he flew off and the female continued feeding.  Five minutes later, the male flew in with a pocket gopher.  He sat above the female, but she wouldn't acknowledge him.  He even taped her on the shoulder twice.  Finally he flew off to perch behind the nest.  Presently he ate the meal himself.  Now the female began begging for food.  Awkward!  Finally the male flew off to the south and perched.  There he preened while the female continued to beg.  Silence for one hour. At 8:30am she began begging.   Male responded with long series of hoots.   8:55am male hooted and flew off to perch to the north.  He then hooted several times.  Female begged.  Left at 9:30am

June 1st

Got to the nest at 7:05am.  All was quiet. 34degrees and sunny.  Female became alert at 7:15am and flew off to the north.  Could see chicks.  Female returned two minutes later with something large.  Climbed right in and began feeding chicks in the window.  Saw three chicks.  Fed for twenty minutes then settled down on top of chicks.  Half an hour later fed chicks again.  At end, fed only smallest chick with the tiniest bits of meat.  Left at 8:45am.

June 3rd

Our 45 Anniversary!  Cindy and I arrived at 7am.  Raining.  Female faced away from us.  Begged for food off and on.  At 8:15 rain had slowed and male hooted from behind nest out of sight.  He flew off to the north.  At 8:30 female began feeding unseen chicks.  At 8:55 female was moving about when two sharp shined hawks began darting around the nest top.  This went on for a couple minutes.  Female watched intently but never gave an alarm call.  They were gone by 9:00am.  Female fed chicks again.  Got a quick look at two of them.  Left at 10:15am

NOTE:  The long eared owl nest I posted on earlier. (Reminder the male was hit on the highway and we found the female and three chicks in the middle of fledging.)  We checked on them every couple of days and after two weeks, which is the last time we saw them, all three chicks seem to be doing fine.  Meaning the female took over hunting and has been very successful.


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