It's not easy out there

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I went back the preserve this evening with my scope so I could better assess the status of the Great Horned Owl nest. As I had thought, it looked as if 80% of the nest was missing. I decided to take a look around the base of the nest tree to see if I could find anything and sure enough, I quickly found a dead chick on the ground along with the rest of the nest. 

Judging from the size of the dead chick, I doubt that there were any others. It certainly wasn't big enough to move around. Any other chicks certainly wouldn't have been old enough to survive outside of the nest. 

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My guess is that the storm from the day before knocked the nest out of the tree. It was quite windy at my house, which is three miles away. I sure it was probably the same there. Also, looking at the nest material that was on the ground, I think the nest was quite old. Many of the sticks were decayed and very weak. I think it was just a structural failure in adverse weather. 

It's a sad ending for these owls this season. Since Great Horned Owls only produce one brood a year, these adults are free to roam. I'll certainly miss seeing them on my daily walks.