Nesting Update

by Carl Strang

Earlier this spring I reported on a failed Canada goose nest, coyotes having reached the vulnerable site chosen by a pair that evidently was young and inexperienced. Soon after, I noticed another nest under incubation in Mayslake Forest Preserve’s parking lot marsh.

They chose one of the lower muskrat houses, well buried in cattails off shore.

Late last week I found the nest empty. When my back is healed I will be able to wade out and confirm what appears from a distance to be a successful nest. I will be interested in the number of eggshells, because the next day I spotted two Canada goose broods on May’s Lake, one with 3 and one with 6 small goslings.

Yesterday the broods were still together, but one appeared to be down to two goslings, one in the frame here.

Apparently one gosling jumped ship, for the other brood was up to 7.

On the other hand, with the two families hanging together there could be shifting back and forth.

Meanwhile, I have kept an eye on the great horned owl nest. Over the past three weeks only one owlet has been visible.

In this first photo the baby clearly is bigger than it was when the platform was installed.

I didn’t give up hope that both survived. On cooler or windy days no owlet could be seen, so they can hide beneath the platform’s sides.

Here, a little larger, the owlet strikes a Kilroy Was Here pose.

I will be happy to be proven wrong, but I suspect that one of the two babies didn’t make it.

In this photo from Friday, the still larger youngster sports developing head tufts.

On Monday the owlet had left the nest and was perched a couple branches above it. Yesterday I could find no owlet, which probably means it hiked to a distant tree and climbed up. From this point I will be able to track it only by encountering it happenstance, or by hearing its distinctive calls in the evening.

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