Wednesday evening my oldest son and myself had to get out of the house and do a bit of exploring. Which in simpler terms means “let’s go out and do a bit of walking and do some birding while we’re at it”. And one of my favorite spots is Gilmore Ponds which is a part of the Butler County Metroparks system. This park naturally sits in a low area of Butler County. Which explains why they built a section of the Miami-Erie Canal along the present day northern border of the park. And with the park being situated in a pretty wet area the waterfowl can be real good, but tonight we’re owl hunting.
A good tip from a fellow birder gave me an idea where a nesting Great Horned Owl was located. And since everyone I know loves owls, I couldn’t resist the temptation. Great Horned Owls mate for life, but they will stay with their mate only during breeding season. They mate by December and often use nests from other large birds. They may also use cavities in trees, cliffs, buildings, etc. The female lays 1-5 eggs and incubates the eggs for about 30-37 days. The male feeds the female and protects the nest by attacking intruders. After the young hatch they are fed by both parents are brooded for another 2 weeks. The young are very active and will venture out onto the tree limbs, but remain close by in order to be fed. They fledge at 45-55 days.
Now with the owl nest secured away, repeat visits will be in order. If this truly is an active nest we’ll soon see some young ones, and hopefully get some photos.