Monday, February 11, 2008

Mating Great Horned Owls

With all of the talk of spring in the birding community, Karyn and I thought we would head into Hull's Grove near Boise to check on the Great Horned Owl pair that has nested there for years.  Last year we observed them mating on Valentine's day. Arriving at the sand cliffs we could see the female nestled inside.  The male was across the stream in a tree. At about 6pm they started hooting to each other. The female came out to the rim of the nest and hooted back. At 6:30 the female flew over the road and stream to a tree where the two of them mated. The male then flew to the highest branch in one tree, hooted, on to another tree, hooted, and on to a third tree, hooting again. We lost sight of the male as he flew off, but the female was still in the mating tree when the light faded too low to see.

This pair (assumed to be the same pair) has successfully fledged at least three chicks each of the last 4 years, fledging 4 on two occasions. I am not sure how long they have nested there, but this will be the fifth year that we have observed them there.

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