The Roosting Tree

As I just posted the great horned owl has seemingly driven out the barred owl(s) from their wintering grounds. Now it seems that owls have a similar sense of what provides a good roosting spot. As the great horned was in a spot where, in the previous 2 ‘winters’, at least one barred owl has used regularly. I have heard this happening before, sometimes with in days..but it seems that there are prime roosting spots in the owl world. (the link is to a fellow ‘owlers blog network’ member that is in the UK.)

this photo was taken just about 2 years ago…2/12/13 barred owl notice almost the exact spot as the great horned owl

Almost exactly a year ago…12/31/2013,a bit different angle, just off the main branch, on a side branch, the great horned owl below is on the thicker part that bisects the barred owl in this photo.
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The great horned owl likes the same roosting spot, although it seems the asian bittersweet is slowly choking out this evergreen (spruce I think) out.
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New Sheriff on Site

Site 1

The last few years a barred owl had been spending its winters near this site. Last year a second barred owl showed up as well and as usual they disappeared for the spring. Then for seemingly one day a great horned owl showed up. But it was not to be seen again, until now (if its the same owl). I had noticed the absence of barred owls this year, and this great horned owl if taking up residence could help explain their absence. Great horned owls will prey on barred owls and any other smaller owls. The screech owls nesting box is about 1/4 mile or less away. Just as the screech owls had to avoid being preyed upon by the barred owl(s) they will have to avoid this great horned. Anyway the female screech owl has been regularly spending the day in her box including today.


female screech owl safe and sound for the day in the box
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Missed Focus…

Saw a barred owl yesterday…only got one shot off before it took off…missed the focus (on foreground cedar) actually had the focus on the 1/2 press but must have let up just enough to have the cam try to re-aquire focus and mess things up…by myself so no point for the owl challenge…that is all…cheers.


Screech Owl Central

Site 8

This is not the first time the seemingly abundance of screech owls have been noted here but its impressive none-the-less. 3 owls seen from one property.

Good Morning,

There are THREE OWLS in our neighborhood at sunrise this morning and I could see all three from inside our home. 1) red owl in the slot box 2) the ‘new’ grey Owl that appeared this weekend 3) another grey owl in a near by…. Ever since Sunday morning, when both the Red and the Gray Screech Owl appeared together in our yard, I’ve been wondering where the Gray Owl went. The two owls flew in together and perched on the same branch of the apple tree. During the instant that it took for the red owl fly to the slot box, the gray owl disappeared. I hadn’t seen it since it flew off. This morning the yard birds were making a loud demonstration around this tree in our neighbor’s yard. I checked this hole several times and finally saw the GRAY OWL! It remained visible while I got outside and carefully approached the tree. As I aimed the camera, it vanished into the hole! It reappeared later but it was dusk by then. The good news is that I can see this roost from the same vantage point that I use to see the two owl boxes.

Today I will post the two photos I took today 2014-12-04. It was before sunrise, so the exposure was too long for my unsteady Nikon with the 200mm lens. I could see Owls #1 & #2 from the door to the deck in our back yard. I could see #3 from the living room windows.

2014-12-04 roost grey Owl (5)wm

2014-12-04 red owl (1)

2 of the 3 owls. Great update, thank you!

Leucistic Hawk Appearance

Site 2

Owl wise there were a pair of barred owls hooting it up all late summer into early fall. Have yet to get a visual but they are fun to hear never-the-less. Now the real reason for the site update is that the leucistic red-tailed hawk is still around. I just happened to see it glide by, thought it disappeared just as quickly, but it decided to land on a tall spruce about 100 yards away. It really is a striking hawk, and I am still amazed that it has acquired more color as its aged. If you please, compare it to Phil Brown’s excellent photo back in october 2011


Male Returns

Site 9

Update from the owner of site 9


Our red female owl from last year has been back in the box every night for the last 2 weeks! She has brought in a frog , a rat and a house sparrow. We have installed a bird cam in the box ( Spy on a Bird camera) so we can study the owls behaviors more closely. The gray male ( same one from last year) has been sleeping in the box for 2 nights in the last few days! It seems the pair are taking turns using the box which we hope is a positive sign that they will use our box again and we hopefully will have another successful breeding and fledging.

The male was hanging out with the snow on his head this am! he and the female are taking turns in the box!



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.


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