Weston Smith Reports about the owl in
"...Talking to Garry [Mowery] as
well as some local residents this bird has been in the neighborhood for at
least one week possibly two or more."
Utah Bird Records
Sight record for the
Sight record for the
Mountain Green Owl
Utah birders to be
commended regarding GGO:
email from Clark
I've not been to Mountain Green to see
the famous (especially after the KSL story) GGO, but I'm keeping that option
open. I've followed with interest the reports from many of you regarding the
owl's whereabouts and the calls for common sense regarding the welfare of
both the owl and the human residents of Mountain Green. The fact that the
owl is still there after several weeks of people driving up to see it
suggests that it is unperturbed by the mild disturbance and that food is
reasonably abundant. As I read on a website about GGOs in Manitoba, "Great
Gray Owls are fairly tolerant of humans and co-exist even in high-use
areas." This is also true for other species of owls, hence the ongoing use
of a nest-box in my backyard by a pair of Western Screech Owls--noisy
springtime lawn-mowing notwithstanding.
Many years ago I purchased a book by Robert Nero, titled "Great Gray Owl:
Phantom of the Northern Forest." What astonished me more than anything else
in the book were photos of GGOs flying to, and capturing, mice placed on the
snow by a researcher (possibly the author) who knelt by the mouse with a
long-handled fish net. The owls paid absolutely no attention to the human
just a few feet away who easily netted them for scientific investigation.
Further, biologists have trapped numerous GGOs in Yosemite National Park and
collected blood and feather samples without causing any significant distress
to the birds.
As long as we aren't regularly causing the owl to move from one place to
another our presence is not incurring a deleterious effect. I can't speak,
however, regarding our impact on the patience of Mountain Green residents.
My only concern is that the attention given the owl on KSL might possibly
lead to irresponsible behavior by non-birders wanting to catch a glimpse of
the bird. But even this is highly unlikely given that vigilant birders are
watching out for the owl's welfare. With well-above average late winter
temperatures and an adequate food supply, I'd say the Mountain Green owl is
perfectly content. While the constant parade of curious onlookers may now
and then cause the owl to glance at its audience rather than concentrating
on the muffled sounds of voles scurrying about beneath the snow (if there is
any left), the more serious threat to its welfare is its abundant congener,
the GHO [Great Horned Owl], and, when summer arrives, West Nile Virus.