Posted by: atowhee | May 14, 2019


There are Great Gray Owls living and apparently breeding in northeastern Marion County and in nearby southeastern Clackamas County.  At least one credible sighting in recent years was of two immature GGOs in that area.  Last night a BLM biologist and I located and listened to a male calling repeatedly in a dense forest of young Doug fir and maple.  The canopy was sufficiently dense to please any Great Gray.  The ground was profusely covered with ferns, shrubs and fallen limbs.  The owls would definitely have to move to nearby clearings to hunt. I am prone to believe it was a male calling unsuccessfully for a mate.  This area would be at the extreme northwestern edge of the species’ range in Oregon and so mate-finding might be a chancy effort each winter and spring.

The elevation is modest, less than 2000’, but the habitat is montane.  Along the road we heard a male Mountain Quail calling repeatedly.  There are numerous small private properties and homes nearby.  I wonder if the local residents know they have GGOs hunting their meadows at night?

The search will continue.  It would be good to find youngsters, better yet to find an active nest.  The species no  longer warrants serious government-sponsored surveys in Oregon so this effort is largely done in spare moments by a staff of dedicated biologists.


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