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Breeding Season Updates: Great Grays, Pygmys, and Long-eared Owls!

April 26, 2022


Some brief nest-searching updates:

As of April 23, 2022, the field crew (which includes a number of dedicated volunteers!) has found:

  • 3 Great Gray Owl nests-- including one discovered on Friday, April 22

  • 4 Northern Pygmy Owl nests (though they suspect one may have failed, and need to go back to check)

  • 3 Long-eared Owl nests

On Saturday, April 23, the crew got out and banded this female Long-eared Owl:

Check out that fringe on the leading edge of her wing-- one of the adaptations for silent flight! (Read more about silent flight and other owl adaptations on the Owl Adaptations page).

The area where we were banding didn't have an active Long-eared Owl nest, but the female we caught was rather heavy-- more so than average-- so there is a possibility she could be getting ready to lay some eggs. We spotted both a male and female Long-eared Owl in the area, and a couple nice-looking old magpie nests that could make good Long-eared Owl nesting locations, so we'll see! The field schedule changes often, as dictated by weather and other factors, the crew will be out in that area again to nest search in a week or so. We'll keep you posted on what they find!

This picture (below) is of the draw where the two Long-eared Owls were roosting- full of thick shrubs and black-billed magpie nests. Long-eared Owls do not make their own nests, and typically use stick nests from previous years that were originally built by other species, most commonly black-billed magpies, crows, or other raptors.

For more information about these owls, visit the Long-eared Owl species ID page.


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