Posted by: atowhee | June 1, 2020

MAY DAY, MAY DAY…STOP THE CAR

My bird-wise friends, Kirk Gooding and Shannon Rio found a hunting Great Gray in Jackson County’s Cascades yesterday.  It was hunting from a roadside fence post next to busy highway.  There is a rodent and water rich meadow just inside the fence where GGOs have been known to hunt for generations (of owls).  Below is Kirk note, followed by his superb photo sequence.

“Yesterday coming home from the [Klamath] Refuge right at [location deleted for owls’ sake], I yelled to Shannon, ‘Stop, There she is!’, the owl, around 6:30 [PM] in beautiful light. Magic and wonderful. What beautiful patterns. What a way to end the day. Of course talking about you as we watched this calm, denizen of the forest.”

Click on any image to see full screen.

It was likely a male from a nesting pair.  This time of year the owlets are not yet flying and the female is mostly on sentinel duty to protect them until they can fly.  The male does most of the hunting.  He may be out early and in daylight because each member of his family needs four rodents per day for good nutrition.  If there are three owlets, that’s 25 kills every 24 hours.  He is fully employed even if she occasionally flies down from the canopy or nest to snag something nearby.  Nearly all the GGOs’ hunting in the Cascades is done in meadows as the forest is too dense for them to easily maneuver and often the ground cover is too thick and woody as well.  Soft-stalked grasses and forbs are preferred as the owl can crash right through them and grab the rodent they heard moving about.

If you are interested in these birds there are still a few copies of the GGO book Peter Thiemann and I wrote.

 


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