KEEPING AN “EYE” ON . . . The Great Horned Owl

Great Horned OwlThis is an exciting project to me and when the CBEC’s community members learn about it and participate, I think they will be glued to it!  Finally, we put a web cam on a Great Horned Owl’s nest to capture the entire nesting season.  We are devoting a web page to keep track of what’s happening daily.

Great Horned Owls are unique with their nesting cycle as it starts in the winter and extends through May, usually, when the young owlets leave the nest.  It’s interesting in that the female visits the nest a few months prior to the egg-laying, incubates, tends the chicks, leaves them on the nest to their own demise while she’s hunting for them, and is most maternal in her care until they leave the nest.  The young owlets “branch” while she is hunting, that is, they walk out on adjacent branches attached to the nest and test their balance and strength, but return to the nest quickly when ‘food is delivered.’

We are now able to watch all that goes on during the nesting cycle…day and night.  There is an infrared camera for night viewing, a microphone picking up all sounds, including conversation between adults and young owls and even fox yippings underneath the nest or deer snorts in passing.  The happenings will be streamed on a secure channel by clicking a button on the website.

It’s entertaining to watch the interactions of wildlife.  It’s a learning experience that has a carry-over value for our human-wildlife relationship and helps us appreciate the daily work in the life of a wildlife species.

So if you’re looking for something to do at 2:00 am, click below on the webcam and glimpse the GHO nest happenings.

It’s risky business to install a webcam on a nest previously occupied by a Great Horned Owl in November 2020.  The GHO isn’t there now, and won’t be until the end of January or beginning of February.  She may choose a different site this year or not to nest at all.  GHO’s are fickle like that.  So, the risk is the purchasing and installing the technology to bring the nesting cycle of the Great Horned Owl into the warmth of your abode on chance.

I know GHO’s in and out, and I am willing to take the risk.  The project started about a year ago when CBEC learned of a company, Terrain360 and its chief engineer, Ryan Abrahamsen.  After zoom talks, it was decided to put a camera and microphone on a nest previously used by a Great Horned Owl.

The process began with getting solar power set up to power the system.  Next step the installation of camera and microphone.  This is a work in progress, because the settings are always being fine-tuned for maximum results.  CBEC hopes to announce “going live” on December 15th .  Climber, Luke McCall, who works with Ryan did the ‘up at the nest work’ (about 90’ above ground).  He was back, climbing several times, to do work with wires, camera, etc. making the system least obtrusive to the bird.

After the placement of the antenna(s) to bounce the signal to our main building (several devices to bounce the zig-zagging signal to the receiver) a live feed was picked up.  Ryan is presently involved with the, remote movement of camera, and high quality microphones.  Then he will get the 24/7 feed on CBEC’s YouTube channel.  It is an ominous task. CBEC and Terrain360 is committed to present the best opportunity to bring wildlife into your home.  Look for the launch on December 15th .  My final words on the owl cam are, “I better know what GHO’s look for in a good nest site.”

Judy Wink
December 01st  2021