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2023 Great Gray Owl Nest Log

June 5th -June 15th
by Dan Hartman

July 24, 2023

June 5th  Found a long eared owl nest and fledgling ten miles from Cody.  Also the dead male.
June 6th  Arrived at 6:50am.  Rained all night.  Female calling. Male arrived with gopher at 7:30.  Fed chicks facing away from us.  Finally saw at least two chicks before we left at 9:00am.
June 7th Arrived at 6:50am. Poured rain all last evening into night.  Female calling, facing me.  Female hoots at 7:00am.  Turned to the left at 7:30, saw a chick.  At 8:20 female raised up and began begging urgently.  The male was obviously present, but after a bit the female slowed her begging.  I guess the male showed up to tell her it wasn't having any luck.  Maybe because of the rain last night.  Heard chicks for the first time.  The male will have to do better for the third chick to survive.
At 8:45 a really loud crash to the northeast.  At 9:10 the female began pulling on something to her left.  What ever it was it was tough.  She continued to pull and eat for the next 1/2 hour.  At 9:15 loud crashed and something coming my way fast.  I saw a flash of brown, then it stopped 30 feet below me.  All I could see was the brown back.  But the hair was short.  No grizzly.  It was an elk.  It moved forward and its head appeared.   It saw me then and crashed away.  More crashing sounds and 2-3 more elk ran by above me.   Left at 9:45am.
June 9th  Arrived at 6:55am.  Female begging.  coyotes howling to the west.  At 8:50 male flew in from the south with a pocket gopher.  Female fed facing away from us.  Two week old chicks looking big.  Couldn't get a chick count.  Left at 9:10am.
June 10th  Arrived at 5:35pm  Female begging.  Facing left.  Could see part of a chick now and then.  At 6:35pm male hooted from the north.  Female and chicks got excited.  Nothing arrived.  Left at 7:00pm
June 11th  Arrived at 7:25am.  Female sitting high, staring into the woods to the north.  Looking low, her head slowly pivoted around to the east.  Watching something pass by.  Never saw it.  Female facing me.  Not begging.  Female fell asleep.  After ten minutes a squirrel chattered and she awoke and began begging.  See part of a chick off and on.  Still raining lightly.
At 8:25 the female and the chicks got excited as the male hooted from the north.  He soon flew in with a gopher.  Female drug it over the smaller chicks head until it grabbed it and gulped it down.  This all happened in the window.  Saw a larger chick to the left.  Still raining.
At 8:45am female starts begging.  Female moves around a lot, looking all around.  At 9:45am she hopped up on the nest edge staring to the south.  Eventually she calmed down.  Began preening.  Saw two chicks in the nest and possibly a third.  Left at 10:40am.   (Female back on chicks when I left.)
June 12th  Cindy and I arrived at 7:25am  Female started begging at 7:45am  Preened chicks and cleaned out the nest.  Bit at the wood inside the nest.  Ruffed grouse drumming to our right.  Female flew off to the north at 8:22am  Back at 8:37am  Did not bathe.  Goshwak flew through at 9:15am.  Female hooted loudly and became agitated.  Grouse still drumming. Female hops to the nest top at 9:50am.  Preens and begs.  Chicks sleeping.  Back on nest at 10:30am.  Left
June 14th  Arrived in the rain at 8:10am.  At 8:15am female flew off to attack something on the ground to the south.  A couple mintues later, she passed behind the nest, heading north.  She returned eight minutes after leaving.  Settled on to the chicks, facing me.  At 9:20am male appeared with a gopher.  Female fed middle chick.  He dropped it.  Female picked it up and gave it back to same chick.  Poured rain then.  Left at 10:30am
June 15th  Cindy and I arrived at 7:20am  Female faced away.  At 7:45am male arrived with something, probably a gopher.  Female appeared to feed the large chick. She was facing away from us.  (Beautiful morning 42 degrees and sunny.)  Grouse drumming.
Male flew in at 8:45am  with a gopher.  Female fed facing away.  Still begging.

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