Great Gray Owl Breeding Season Update

June 22, 2022


 

It’s been an excellent year for Great Gray Owl nests- so far this year, the field crew has found 8 nests! Though one failed early on due to unknown causes, there are 7 active nests that are being monitored.


The most recent nesting site was found only last week, when Chloe and Solai went out to do fledgling checks in an area where they suspected a nest was located. Right away they found the male Great Gray Owl, hunting in an open meadow on the edge of the woods:



They were able to follow him back to his three chicks. The female Great Gray Owl is also still in the area, helping her mate feed their hungry growing young. She was banded last year, but the male is still unbanded.


The next day we came back to attempt to catch and band the chicks, but they were too high up in the trees to catch, so we instead searched for, and found, the nest location. The field crew will go back and attempt to catch and band the chicks at a later date.

A woman bent over at the waist looks on the ground at the base of a pine tree.
Beth looking for pellets at below the suspected nest location.

These chicks are about 7 weeks old, and have been out of their nest for about 2 to 3 weeks. They are strong fliers and able to fly from tree to tree pretty easily, but still need to work on their landings... it wasn’t exactly a crash landing when the chick flew to a nearby tree, but let’s just say it wasn’t the most elegant!



Soon the female will leave her chicks and mate, and the male will take over sole feeding duty for the three chicks for a couple more months before they are on their own. The young owls will be independent and on their own by the late summer/early fall.


 

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