Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Great Horned Owls, Hoot and Give a Hoot, "Nest Behaviors"

On Sunday, 03-14-21, I set up my GoPro on Hoot, the female Great Horned Owl, who is on a nest in Minnesota. This was the second time I placed a GoPro out to watch her. The last time was on 03-11-21. Although, the video lacks the detail seeing exactly what Hoot is doing up in her nest the video certainly gives a good idea of her interactions with, Give a Hoot, the male Great Horned Owl.

I have spent several hours photographing/video Hoot since late summer of 2020. I’ve also photographed/video , Give a Hoot, but not as many hours as with Hoot. I’ve also spent many days and many more hours walking the woods looking for both owls.

Lately, most of my time I will locate Give a Hoot at least 0.5 to 0.6 miles from where Hoot is nesting. Hoot had moved out of her normal territory late in December 2020 because what I believe might have been too much human activity during the winter months. Also, an area nearby had several trees cut down and I know one of them was a favorite place for her to roost in the summer. I’ve read one study mentioning the male will roost approximately 100 meters from where the female would be nesting. Where Hoot is nesting isn’t a place where I would expect her to nest, but that might be because of the lack of nest sites in the area.

After Hoot left her normal area after 12-25-20 I didn’t locate her again until 02-02-21 and 02-03-21 roosting in another area. I don’t know when she actually began nesting, but the day I put out my GoPro was the 39th day, since I last saw her roosting in another area. On average it takes 30 days for eggs to hatch.

I placed the GoPro out at approximately 1350 hrs and left it running for about 7 1/2 hrs. The temperature was about 44 degrees in the afternoon and it was 38 degrees at 2100 hrs. It was also a very windy day. Sunset for my location was 1918 hours.

The first territorial call was was done by Give a Hoot at 1911 hrs. who isn’t seen in the video. Hoot immediately returns the call as I can see her raising her tail when making the call. Then another call by Give a Hoot. Shortly afterwards Give a Hoot is seen flying and landing on the top of a conifer to the right of the nest 46 seconds after his first call. Hoot makes another call as Give a Hoot is just about to land. I’ve made some notes throughout the video.

I don’t believe Hoot makes another call or if she did I couldn’t hear her, but Give a Hoot makes about 34 calls in the next 10 minutes before Hoot jumps out of the nest onto a branch just before flying off at 1922 hrs.

Give a Hoot stays on top of the conifer while giving another 6 territorial calls before flying off in Hoots direction at 1925 hrs. They are no longer seen in the video, but it sounds like they are both calling back and forth because of the much shorter duration between the calls. Because of the surrounding noise it’s difficult to distinguish which owl is calling. The male has a lower call.

Hoot flies back to the nest at 1944 hrs, so she was off the nest for 22 minutes. Due to the compression of the video clip it was too dark to see her come back to the nest so I didn’t include it, although I can see her fly back on my file in Lightroom. I listened for another 10 minutes and I couldn’t hear anymore calling.

I included two images of Hoot on the nest on 03-14-21 when I set out the GoPro and two images on 03-15-21 when I picked up the camera.

No comments: