I hear from Laura Navarette of the Whiteman-Wallowa National Forest that their field biologists have confirmed six nesting pairs of Great Gray Owls in their thirty-plus nest platforms in the forest. I will be out in LeGrande later this week to give a talk on Great Gray Owls in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. The talk will be at the dinner for the Ladd Marsh Bird Festival there on Friday.
The Spring Ares north of LeGrande has the largest and longest-running nest platform program anywhere in the U.S. It’s success is heartening. In our new book on Great Gray Owls, Peter Thiemann and I have included a chart through last spring of the nest platform use rate in Spring Creek. Eight active platforms is the most in one year so far. Occasionally none of the platforms get used. That probably has to do to springs with little or low prey availability. This past winter was wet and mild which may have spurred the local rodents to greater and earlier reproduction as they would have found plenty of plant food.
Here in Jackson County Rogue Valley Audubon is accepting donations to put up more platforms…so far local birders are monitoring 11 platforms most just erected last fall and winter. We know of at least one successful platform-nesting pair so this far. We’d like to get up more platforms in the coming fall.