Spring Creek Great Gray Owl Management Area

Great Gray Owl


A unique population of great gray owls was discovered in the Blue Mountains in the 1980s in the Spring Creek area.  This population is unique because of the high density of birds (at least eight pairs in four square miles) and because they have nested every year, except one, since 1982.



The Spring Creek area was logged in the 1970s leaving open, park like stands of Ponderosa pine with islands of denser stands of Douglas fir.  The owls hunt in the open stands of pine and nest in the dense Douglas fir habitats, which provide shade and protection from avian predators, such as ravens and great horned owls.

Originally, the owls nested on vacant Northern Goshawk nests. Most of the owls now nest on artificial platforms because the stick nests have disintegrated, and large snags, also used for nests, are not present. The artificial platforms are about two feet square and are placed 30 to 50 feet off the ground in large trees.  The La Grande Ranger District, which manages the Spring Creek area, has an ongoing program to provide nest platforms for great gray owls.

Printable Brochure (2.3mb)

To hear what Great Gray Owls sound like, click here to visit the Bureau of Land Management Great Gray Owl Survey Sounds.


2010 Accomplishment Report (188kb)

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