Snowy Ice Breaker

The family took a late afternoon walk as we got a break from the unseasonably cold weather we have been having. I got my first point in this years owl challenge. It was a snowy owl. This year probably won’t be as snowy owl filled as last years record irruption year. However, if early indicators are fairly accurate then it could be a better than average year for snowies. So for now 2 points for my wife, and 1 point for me.


Spreading the Resistance: Catching Up

Great news, great update from the first one!!!and yes you did get some great photos. THANKS!

I never let you know, our pair of owls had four owlets. I thought it was three but as the first owlet fledged another owlet took its place. It was remarkable to watch.

baby owls 022-1
The female is already here using the same box as last year, already. I saw two in the box one day but as I tried to get a photo it dropped back in box though the female stayed out. But I think whatever visitor this owl had has left. I got some amazing photos.

October 28th female owl returns on 27th 005


Just Another Link

Fantastic site banding and migration monitoring, owls, diurnal raptors and songbirds:
Hawk Ridge Blog looks mainly active in the fall months. Follow the link to their main site for some statistics and more info as well.
Has a great photo with a side by side by side size comparison of saw-whet, long-eared and barred in this post

Added New Link

What appears to be an interesting link, with at 7 seven live streaming (ads first though)
cameras to screech owl boxes was added to my links section over to the right hand menus
Western Pennsylvania Screech Owl Project

Mid October, Prime Return Time (in MA)

Site 9

It seems as though mid(ish) October seems to be about the peak of owls returning to hollows (or boxes)in MA. Some may come back earlier…some a little later but if the peak of hurricane season is mid september, I would argue the peak of screech owls taking up hollows in MA would be midish October.
Anyway, an update from the owner:

Our female red owl returned on Sunday morning October 19! We were so happy to have her back in her box. We have installed a bird cam so we can see what is going on in her box. She has been in her box ( except for 1 day) every day and has an established routine already! Today she has a small rodent in her box and we have not seen that happen yet! Last night she flew out and joined up with another owl( her mate or her little owlet from the spring). We are looking forward to documenting their behavior.

site9camSONY DSC

Thanks for the update! and I would most like say that it was her mate that she met up with…Screech owls tend to kick out their young in Late Summer- Fall

More Action

Site 8

From the owner:

I was working in my office on Saturday(Oct 17) afternoon and heard a faint bird call that was barely audible through the closed window. Impelled by curiosity I went to open the back door to the porch and quickly heard the distinct trill of a Screech Owl somewhere in our back yard. It was calling frequently, with only a brief interval between the trills. The noise of too many passing cars, planes and a large truck soon drowned out the call of the owl.
Apparently the noise didn’t deter the owl from staying in our yard. Today(10/20) we have painters using sanders to remove the paint from our house. Two carpenters are using a compressor and various power tools to repair the siding and trim of our house. I happened to think about the owl as I was walking past the windows in the back hallway and “Lo and Behold” there was a red Screech Owl in the box!!!!!!!!!! FIRST OF THE SEASON – YIPPEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A red Screech Owl appeared in the slot box again this morning.,, the second sighting this week. Cheers,

2014-10-20RedScreech (11)wm

thanks as always for the update!

The Brown Phase, Up by 2.

2 points that is…as it is 2 points (wife) to 0 (me) in this seasons owling challenge, my wife found what is one of the coolest colored screech owls I have seen.  It is an intermediate between gray phase and red phase, called a brown phase, this is about a text book brown as I have seen. What a good find!


Moving Back In

Site 1 and Site 3

Both have reported owls back in boxes at these sites.  First siting from site 3 was Friday Sept 26th a gray phase, since both male and female are gray its tough to say which is which.

First observation of an owl at Site 1 came on Monday Sept 29th. It is the gray phase female, looks like the female that has been seen here since Oct 2007.

Site 1, female in slot style box Sept 29th.


2014 Wrap Up

Site 1
Screech Owls,
Male=red phased
Female=gray phased
First Egg: mid march
# of Eggs…………… least 4
First Hatch: mid april
# Hatched…………….4
Fledged ……………….4

Site 2
No screech owls…It seems a Pair of Barred Owl have been fairly regularly heard late summer and fall 2014, even in the day. Oh and the leucistic red-tailed hawk was last seen 3/13/2014.

Site 3
Screech Owls
Male=gray phased (confirmed 2011)
Female=gray phased (new for 2013 nesting)
First Egg: early april
# of Eggs ………….4
# Hatched………… 4
Fledged……………. 4
(a day or 2 after June 8th, 2014)

Site 4

No screech owls

Site 5
Maryland successful nesting but details lacking
Screech Owls,
Male= ?
Female=red phased
First Egg ???
# of Eggs…………. ??
First Hatch ???
# Hatched ………… at least 1
Fledged ……………. at least 1

Site 6
No screech owls, great horned owl(s) still heard occ.

Site 7
no screech owls

Site 8
Screech Owls, at least 2 which nested nearby
again in 2014 did not nest at site 8, but nested near by with 4 owlets observed to have fledge!
Male= Gray phased (browner)
Female=Gray phased

Site 9
site 9 relocated 2014, Owl in Box with-in 3 days of installation (new record):
Screech Owls,
Male= Gray phase
Female= Red phased
First Egg: mid march
# of Eggs…………… least 1
First Hatch: mid april
# Hatched…………….at least 1
Fledged ……………….at least 1

2014 Totals:
screech owl eggs ……10 +
screech owl fledged…..9+ (+ 4) fledged near (but off) site 8 massachusetts
1+ Maryland.

Owl Challenge Last and New

I was a bit negligent on last years owl challenge update, which I won, 4 points to 0.  They were all snowy owls.  I guess all the off season training payed off as it was a tough defeat for me the year before.  So for the record, 1 challenge for my wife and 1 for me.

That brings us to this year,  well since we saw an owl today the 2014-15 owl challenge has begun and my wife gets the first point.  She found this Barred owl road side from the car.  Looks like it might be a young of the year owl and hunting mid-day.  Good way to start and Let the games begin!


Four ready to Fledge

Site 3

Four owlets here are getting ready to fledge any day now, as they peer into the big wide outside world.
The mom keeps close watch from near by. The Dad remains oh so elusive!


1 of 4 owlets in the box

Dubbing a New Site 9

Site 9.

The old site 9 had to be taken down, due to a move. It had the old record of screech owl occupancy of 12 days after installation. Its seems fitting that I am able to ‘replace’ site 9 with the box that beat that record. It took less than 3 days after installation to get a screech owl occupant. And even better, they are nesting and have owlets that are getting close to fledging. So here is a summary of the season so far. The reports below are from the owner, and provide a brief (selected) summary of this nesting season so far. anyway WELL DONE!

March 26
female only pops up 30 seconds here and there mostly down! Now she flies out- then the male and then she flies back in box 10 minutes or so later! This behavior started slowly by being down but now I,think we may have eggs in there

April 15th
what a site we just saw!
Female flew out and then the male flew over to the tree branch waiting for her to return with a big frog hanging out of his mouth! She flew back in her box 3 minutes later – she went down in the box and then he dropped off his catch! Was amazing to see this huge frog !

April 22
We may have owlettes – tonight we had a change of activity and I think that we may have babies- it is around 27 days of the same behavior- she flies out for and few minutes and the male comes to feed but tonight he was going in and out over and over and she flew out for 1 minute and then back – male back and forth and she flew out again 30 seconds! I don’t know how to know if there are babies


the pair from March 12th


Mom and 1 owlet from May 15th

Plus One

Site 1

This family has move on, but I did get a final tally of 4 owlets fledged. They seem to be doing well. As usual this family follows a very similar path through the trees as previous years so it allows for some nice family photos before they ‘disappear’.

One owlet in crab apple

with the mom

The rest of the family in a near by Yew.

This one has best expression of them all!
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And 2 more snoozing

An alert Dad

Fledging Time

At Site 1.

Looks like 3 owlets fledged, most likely between 5/9 and 5/10. Traveling the same general path through the trees as they had previously when they had nested in the other box.
Three owlets in a yew, the typical early fledged roost.

Switched it Up

Site 1

The female here decided to nest elsewhere but it was in ‘his’ box. In all the years (since 2010) I have never seen the female in this box, but it seems last minute she decide to give it a try and nest here, I have a feeling its at least in part due to the failed nesting last year in the slot style box. But its nice to know all is well, as an owlet made an appearance this afternoon. No camera in this box, so we’ll have to wait to get a count. But fledging should be with-in a week.

Talk about blending in!


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