Look Who’s Home at Grand Junction Colorado’s Audubon Trail
Look who was home this last weekend (Saturday, April 15, 2023) on Grand Junction, Colorado's awesome Audubon Trail.
If you've ever walked the Audubon portion of the Riverfront Trail, you've probably seen people staring upwards at a tree not far from the trailhead. Well, this is what they're looking at.
The Owl On the Riverfront Trail
For the last few weekends trail walkers have been able to catch a glimpse of at least one of the famous Great Horned Owls living along the Audubon portion of the trail.
Not Easy To Spot
These owls are not exactly easy to see. Mother Nature has done a good job of helping them to blend in.
Sighting On Saturday, April 15, 2023
This last Saturday, April 15, 2023, at roughly 10 a.m., it appeared as though only one owl was at home.
Not to make excuses, but getting a photo of the owl is kind of like getting a picture of Bigfoot. It's hard to get a photo of someone or something that doesn't want its picture taken. Since this owl undoubtedly prefers to enjoy its privacy, I made an effort to keep my distance.
It seems many trail walkers are unaware of this particular nest. With that, even though the nest is right on the trail, the owls manage to maintain a desirable level of social distancing.
Owl's Nest is a Grand Junction Colorado Landmark
Visit the Audubon Trail as it sets out from the Safeway shopping center off of Broadway, and you'll spot this nest along the trail. Everyone stops to look at the nest to see if anyone is home.
A Little Info About the Great Horned Owl
It's my understanding there are a total of four Great Horned Owl nests along the Audobon portion of the trail. To date, I've only seen two with my own eyes. According to All About Birds;
With its long, earlike tufts, intimidating yellow-eyed stare, and deep hooting voice, the Great Horned Owl is the quintessential owl of storybooks. This powerful predator can take down birds and mammals even larger than itself, but it also dines on daintier fare such as tiny scorpions, mice, and frogs. It’s one of the most common owls in North America, equally at home in deserts, wetlands, forests, grasslands, backyards, cities, and almost any other semi-open habitat between the Arctic and the tropics.
How to Find the Nest
Let's use Chow Down Healthy Pet Supplies at 2500 South Broadway as our starting point. You can park right along this portion of the Riverfront Trail. From there, take the trail heading west. You'll pass behind the plaza housing Golden Fights Gym and S.O.A.R. From there, continue heading west on the trail until you pass the Redlands Power and Water facility south of the canal.
Shortly after you pass that facility, you'll spot the tree with the owl's nest directly in front of you.
The total distance from Chow Down to the tree containing the nest is just over 2,000 feet. In other words, it's not that long of a hike and is well worth the effort.
Looking Back One Year
If you look back to May of 2022, you may remember the brand new baby owls at this nest.
You'll spot the mom and two young owls in the nest. I have seen the adult male precisely one time, and that was a while ago. He can be seen at times cruising along the top of the trees lining the canal.
Not often, but from time to time, the babies and the mom will leave the nest and perch on the limbs at left and right of the nest.
I came back by on Sunday, May 1, 2022, and spotted the young owls again. They weren't quite as interested in visiting as they were the day before. One tends to be somewhat outgoing, while the other prefers to remain unnoticed.
Over the last ten years, I've seen several generations of Great Horned Owls emerge from this nest. It's become somewhat famous. If nothing else, the trail makes for an excellent outing. If you're lucky, you'll spot the trail's newest residents.