In the dark, damp forest near Slana, Alaska our photographer, Michael Quinton was lucky enough to be tipped off about resident male Boreal Owl broadcasting his mating call. A female responds to his vocalizations, they mate and she lays a clutch of eggs in an abandoned woodpecker nest in a tall snag that fortunately had been adapted by the photographer to photograph the previous residents.
Over several months Michael visits the snag to document the progress of the chicks hatching, growth and fledging. Each evening the male arrives at the nest site to deliver prey to the owlets and the female. As the Alaskan days grow shorter, the male becomes active as twilight engulfs the stand of tall white spruce and poplar. He is the sole provider for the five owlets snuggled inside a hollow stub. The female abandoned her owlets when they were three weeks of age. They no longer needed brooding so apparently her role was complete.
As the owlets thrive they begin to test their wings with virgin flights from the nest and eventually explore their forest domain. All of the chicks that fledged survived and after the two month cycle the family disappeared into the woods.
The images in this gallery are from two separate nests with two seasons of owlets.