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Jerry Friedman

Question about disturbing Great Horned Owl nest

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A friend told me that there are Great Horned Owls nesting in a loft about 50 feet above the ground in the bleachers in a small ballpark.  An Easter celebration with over 100 noisy kids present for a couple hours will take place on April 16.  She wants to know whether that's likely to make the nesting attempt fail, and whether having the kids stay at ground level instead of going up into the bleachers will help.  (At least they can't get into the loft without a ladder.)  I get the impression the park isn't used much otherwise.
 
One person has answered me at BirdChat and suggested that there might be some danger to the kids as well, but as long as people stay out of the bleachers, the odds are good.
 
Can anyone here help?

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It is not very wise or safe to have people near an active GHO nest. They are very territorial and can defend the nest very aggressively and have been know to attack people who get too close. I would make sure it is blocked off with a very wide perimeter of the nest. I am not sure the noise per se will bother the Owls, but any people close enough to the nest(in the Owls mind) will bother them and could possibly cause a defensive action from the Owls.

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Unless hatching times are different down south (and I simply dont know if this is the case), then the young should already be hatched. Great Horned Owls are pretty much the earliest born birds here in Canada. Migration has not really even started, but our GH owlets are already close to independence.

So I dont think it will cause a failure if they are already born, but anything to cut down disturbance should be good.

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