It’s hard to say exactly where the owls’ nest is located. Great-horned owls don’t construct nests as some raptors do, but take over the nests previously occupied by crows, other raptors, or even squirrels. These might be stick nests, somewhat exposed in a winter-bare deciduous tree, or hollows in an aged tree. Around our property are many choices. I’ll be keeping a close eye on several old maple and oak trees at the bottom of the meadow. Each autumn we’ve seen great-horned owls perched on their branches or on the ground nearby. And one morning this past January, after a storm, my son and I were thrilled to notice a large set of wingprints in the meadow’s fresh snow—evidence of the bird’s attempt to capture prey on the ground.
If the female has already begun to lay her eggs, this morning’s round of owl-song may be the only concert we get. But soon enough the mornings will ring with the din of eager songbirds. That eventuality reinforces one of the first realizations I made when becoming a naturalist: Listen for birdsong every day, just because you can.