I can now give dates of my visits to the owl nest.
June 5th Arrived at 8am. Female sat facing me, still no signs of hatching. Also no food arrived.
June 10th Arrived at 7:45 am. A feeding of a pocket gopher already in the nest at 9am. Saw two chicks!! One four days old, the other two days. Eyes still closed. Possibly more eggs not hatched yet. That could be why she waited until 9am to feed, so it would be warmer and she didn't want to raise up off the remaining eggs. Back at 5:30 pm. She sat facing away from us, so couldn't see chicks. Left at 8pm.
Rained the 11th of June all day. Then dumped rain all day and night on the 12th. I sat at the cabin wondering how she could protect the chicks in these conditions. It just won't stop raining!
June 13th I drove across flooded bridges to get to the nest. She was sitting tight. Couldn't see the chicks. Was there 8am -10:30am. No food arrived, so no feeding. At least the snag was still up. I made it back to the cabin, driving over rocks, tree limbs and 6-8 inches of water at times. Soon after the road was closed. Then found all of Yellowstone was also closed. Then we were warned Yellowstone's NorthEast Gate could be closed for a year!!
June 14th Can't drive more than two miles from the cabin. Lots of speculation.....
June 15th The road was fixed between us and Cooke City, so we drove to Cody for supplies and to get our shipping caught up. Maybe the last photos we'll ship for the next year!
June 16th Arrived back at the nest site at 8am. No food came in, did get a quick look at two chicks. Still raining off and on every day. Can the male find food in this soggy ground?
That afternoon we got word we were going to be evacuated. And we won't be allowed back in for two to four weeks, maybe longer. They were going to take out a bridge that would then block any way into Cooke City-Silver Gate. People were rushing up and down the highway getting cars and goods out before the Sheriff would close the road for good.
I sat in a chair looking at Cindy.
"We're not going anywhere. Right?"
She looked at me and shook her head, "Nope, we just ride it out".
Of course, my concern was the owl nest. I would not be able to get to it until the bridge was replaced.
Cindy tried to call the Park Superintendent. No luck. So she called our County Commissioner. He was on his way to a meeting, but another Commissioner took Cindy's message as to what was happening in our valley. Five minutes later the phone rang. It was Commissioner Berg, he said he had called WYDOT in Wyoming and told then to more or less cut it out! The bridge would not be removed and would be re-enforced instead. (That was done in one morning with boulders.)
So at least we now had a way out. Many people had already left the area. That evening the sheriff held a meeting to apologize to the community. We did not go.