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Boreal Owls by Michael Quinton (20) More files...
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.
Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus) fledglings in coniferous forest, Alaska
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00643575 Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus) fledglings in coniferous forest, Alaska© Michael Quinton
Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus) camouflaged in nest cavity, Alaska
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00643555 Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus) camouflaged in nest cavity, Alaska© Michael Quinton
Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus) female in nest cavity in coniferous forest, Alaska
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00643560 Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus) female in nest cavity in coniferous forest, Alaska© Michael Quinton
Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus) hunting, Alaska
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00643568 Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus) hunting, Alaska© Michael Quinton
Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus) owlets and egg in nest cavity with a cache of dead Northern Red-backed Vole (Clethrionomys rutilus), Alaska
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00643565 Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus) owlets and egg in nest cavity with a cache of dead Northern Red-backed Vole (Clethrionomys rutilus), Alaska© Michael Quinton
Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus) mother checking on owlets in nest cavity, Alaska
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00643588 Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus) mother checking on owlets in nest cavity, Alaska© Michael Quinton
Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus) mother and owlets in nest cavity, Alaska
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00643566 Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus) mother and owlets in nest cavity, Alaska© Michael Quinton
Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus) male landing at nest cavity with White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys) prey for young, Alaska
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00643573 Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus) male landing at nest cavity with White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys) prey for young, Alaska© Michael Quinton
Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus) male flying with Northern Red-backed Vole (Clethrionomys rutilus) prey, Alaska
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00643569 Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus) male flying with Northern Red-backed Vole (Clethrionomys rutilus) prey, Alaska© Michael Quinton
Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus) mother with owlets and egg in nest cavity, Alaska
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00643563 Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus) mother with owlets and egg in nest cavity, Alaska© Michael Quinton
Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus) male bringing Northern Red-backed Vole (Clethrionomys rutilus) prey to incubating female, Alaska
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00643601 Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus) male bringing Northern Red-backed Vole (Clethrionomys rutilus) prey to incubating female, Alaska© Michael Quinton
Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus) owlets in nest cavity, Alaska
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00643579 Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus) owlets in nest cavity, Alaska© Michael Quinton
Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus) owlets in nest cavity, Alaska
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00643571 Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus) owlets in nest cavity, Alaska© Michael Quinton
Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus) flegling at nest cavity, Alaska
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00643591 Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus) flegling at nest cavity, Alaska© Michael Quinton
Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus) fledgling jumping from nest cavity, Alaska
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00643585 Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus) fledgling jumping from nest cavity, Alaska© Michael Quinton
Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus) fledgling with Northern Red-backed Vole (Clethrionomys rutilus) prey, Alaska
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00643581 Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus) fledgling with Northern Red-backed Vole (Clethrionomys rutilus) prey, Alaska© Michael Quinton
Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus) fledgling, Alaska
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00643590 Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus) fledgling, Alaska© Michael Quinton
Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus) female flying towards nesting snag, Alaska
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00643561 Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus) female flying towards nesting snag, Alaska© Michael Quinton
Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus) wet after bathing, Alaska
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00643603 Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus) wet after bathing, Alaska© Michael Quinton
Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus) male, Alaska
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00643587 Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus) male, Alaska© Michael Quinton
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