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2023 Great Gray Owl Nest Log

July 10th - July 19th
by Dan Hartman

Aug. 12, 2023

     July 10th  Arrived at 5:55pm   Found one chick 40 feet up a live tree, calling.  Finally found the female sitting above a large area of dead fall.  A feather was stuck in the brush below her.   When she finally flew of, I checked out the feather and found three more on the ground.  I figured a chick had fallen here.  Was he okay?
The chick had flown/jumped to another tree.  This is the older one, I still hadn't heard or seen the youngest chick.  Then I happened to look upslope  and there he was perched high in a dead douglas fir.
I couldn't get to him because of the insane deadfall, so climbed out of this jumble of downed trees and circled wide to finally gain the slope.  Took 15 minutes to get a view of him on a steep hillside.
At 7:20 he jumped higher, then began hopping from lichen covered dead branch to branch.  Eventually he attempted to switch trees and missed.  Tumbling 20 before catching hold of a live spruce branch.  He looked a mess.
The female flew in and perched below.  The chick righted himself and slowly hopped his way back into the dead fir.  The female continued to perch nearby.  I left at 7:55PM.
Kelly, Cassie, Kevin and Wesley had a grizzly encounter at Rainbow Lake.
     July 12th     Arrived at 6:50am  Found the female perched 20 feet up a dead tree.  Found larger chick 40 feet up a live leaner.  Didn't find other chick.  At 7:30am female gave three warning hoots, looking to the northeast.  Left at 8:10am.
     July 13th  Arrived at 7:25am  Found chick in same location.  Other chick upslope where it was on Monday evening  Left at 8:55am.
     July 15th  Arrivd at 6:45am.  Heard chicks calling at the north and south end of the bog.  I found a chick (larger?) at the end of timber perched in a live lodgepole, 30 feet up.  At 7:00am the female hooted far across the open country to the northeast.  At east a quarter mile away.  Chick continues to call.
     Male flew in at 7:30am and fed larger chick.  Sat above me and hooted.  Found youger chick near female in the middle, 50 feet up a live pine.  Fell 10 feet.   Female hunted 30 feet in front of me.  Left at 10:15am.
     July 16th   Arrived at 6:45am  Chicks calling.  Took a while to find them.  One was 60 feet up in a dead tree.  I was trying to get an angle to film when the male appeared and fed him.  I just got on it as he handed off the gopher.  Luckily they looked at each other a bit, then the male preened the chicks face a bit before flying off.  The chick then ate the gopher. That's when I found I had never actually turned on the camera.  I remember pushing the button, but I guess during the rush to get on the owls, I had not done it firmly enough.  Frustrating!  I looked down and my hands were black with mosquitoes.  I had not had time to spray up yet. 
The second chick began calling and I soon found it 50 feet up a live tree, in the open.  I set up on him when an hour later the male flew in and fed the same chick again. 15 minutes later, the male was back, trying to feed the same chick a third time.  The chick wouldn't take it even though the male tried three times.  Finally the male flew to my chick and handed him the gopher. 
Later, I finally found the female sitting 4 feet off the ground on a low leaner.  I could barely make her out through the foilage when I realized a red squirrel was darting at her over and over.  I filmed best I could then walked a huge circle to get an open shot.  Of course when I got in position, the squirrel had left.  Soon after the male flew in with a gopher for the chick I had just left.  9:40am.  I stayed with the female, hoping the squirrel would return.   Left at 10:15am.
     July 17th  Cindy and I arrived at 7:45am.  Found chicks and female at the end of timber.  Larger chick perched stop a 30 foot snag.  Other chick high in a live tree.
Squirrel climbed up the snag to the chick.  Female flew in and chased it away.  Finally, female caught a gopher and fed the smaller chick in an aspen. Cindy filmed it.  My chick never got fed.  Left at 9:30am.
     July 19th  Arrived at 6:45am. Couldn't find or hear the chicks until 7:30am.  One on a dead tree 50 feet up.  Mom perched 30 feet below. Finally hear second chick.  Found it 60 feet up a dead tree to the north.  No feedings.  30 cows in the meadow behind.  Left at 9am.