Friends of Kootenay Blog

Access stories and photos about the natural and human history of Kootenay National Park and Columbia Valley Includes highlights about the Friends of Kootenay National Park activities and programs.


Knock Knock - Whoos There?

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Whoos There? Photo by Hans Fuhrer

 Boreal Owl April 3, 2013 - Photo by Hans Fuhrer


Retired Kootenay Park Warden, Hans Fuhrer noticed and photographed this Boreal Owl while skiing in Taynton Bowl at Panorama Ski Hill. Hans said “it poked it’s head out the hole when I knocked on the hollow tree snag”

Boreal Owls usually nest in deserted woodpecker holes. Particularly cavities made by Pileated Woodpeckers. Here is some interesting nesting notes from the literature.

“Males begin searching for nest holes in late winter. Prey items are often deposited into the hole, after which, the male will sing from a perch. If an interested female approaches, the male will fly to the cavity and utters a stuttering or trilling song. The female may then inspect the nest hole, and if she accepts it, will stay. The male brings her food while she is in the hole.
Several days later, the female lays 3-8 white eggs which are laid a day apart. Incubation begins with the first or second egg laid, and lasts 28-29 days. The female does all incubation and the male brings food to the nest. The chicks hatch a day apart, and their eyes open after 10 days. They leave the nest at about 30-32 days, and are looked after by the parents for 4-6 weeks. They are mature at about 9 months.

PS. A Boreal Owl was heard calling on March 26, 2013 in the Kootenay Valley during Kootenay National Park's Nocturnal Owl Survey