Brian from central PA:
…. We put ours up about a year and a half ago and just got our first resident. After a few months we almost wished the squirrel proofing was less effective so that at least something would use the box but time wins out and now we have an owl. We probably could have had better placement but were trying to keep the box in a place where we could see it….
THanks for the update! and excellent photo!
Update from the owner
At about 6:10 the red owl arrived in the yard. It perched in two different spots. Then it entered the slot box. It dropped out of sight and reappeared. The red owl then flew to a perch opposite the round hole box. It soon returned to the slot box which had a grey owl perched in the entrance. Both owls were briefly together at the entrance of the slot box. The grey dropped inside first, followed by the red. All this took place within a span of about 5 minutes. I will let you know it the owls reappear or have left while I ‘ve been writing this to you….
I was afraid the pair might have skeedadled while I was writing the email this morning, because they had disappeared. The red owl reappeared later on, but I couldn’t account for the gray until now when the pair came up to sun themselves. This is the first time I’ve seen two owls side-by-side in the same box! The last time I had side-by-side owls was during the last years of our apple tree, about 14 years ago.
Excellent update! thanks!
I haven’t seen the pair of barred owl that were near by in over a month. My thinking was that they decided to head back to a better breeding territory. Today when checking one of the frequently used (previously) roost, voila an owl, but it became quickly apparent that it wasn’t a barred, it was a great horned, in the exact spot a (the first) barred had used for the first 2/3 of winter. However, it decided to flush the moment I stopped walking (I was on a sidewalk). The crows had a field day, and the owl imbedded itself into a nearby white cedar. Lots of danger and competition for the near by screech owls around every corner! Who knows if it will stick around.
A bit of a change here for the last week, all winter including late the female (gray) was very regular in the slot entrance box. At the end of February there were lots of mice being stored with her in the box. Then a few days into March, she stopped coming in to this box, and slowly the mice storage stopped as well. Now the Male (red) is a regular. So does this mean she decided ‘last minute’ to nest elsewhere? Currently I am leaning that direction. Last years failed nesting attempt maybe had her consider her other options. In the past she has laid eggs 2nd-3rd week in February. Last year (that failed) I estimated the egg laying +/- March 17th. So given her history, and this years seemingly abundant prey, based on the food that was stored…upto 4-5 mice at a time…it would be right on schedule if she was incubating now.
The good news, is that the male is using the box, which would seem to indicate the alternative cavity should be close by. There are a couple of options, one is ‘his’ box about 150 feet away, while I have never seen her in this box, it is a potential option. The other is a new (as of last summer) flicker cavity. Or perhaps a yet to be discovered place.
There is a chance she disappeared, but hopefully she just relocated.
For the last week,
only the male has been in the box that has previously been used as a nest
What is nice, was that it was a pair of Red-Shouldered Hawks, They may have been just passing through, but hopefully they will stick around. No Screech owls, but some activity to summarize since its been a long time since a update here. Barred owls were around all summer and fall and heard almost daily even during the day. But since the cold weather has moved in, its been tough to say if they are still around since its harder to hear them.
Also the leucistic hawk was seen briefly a couple times in January 2014. So brief though that no photo documentation was taken.
So it seems the Red phase that showed up briefly back in October was just passing through, likely got driven out of the resident pair of gray phase owls. These are tough to get a handle on, but I am almost sure that I have seen both the male and the female through the winter. This pair seems exceptionally shy as they are tough to get documentation. Luckily my wife got one of what appears to be the same female as last year.
I installed a box in Rockport MA, Sunday (2/23/14) around 2:00pm. On Wednesday around 5:00 pm I got a call that said they had an screech owl already! Figure the owl arrived early morning on Wednesday, thats less than 72 hours after box installation. That beats out the old record of 12 days by 9 days. Quite extraordinary and certainly not expected, as sometimes it takes years (if at all) to get a screech owl resident. Now to make it even more remarkable, Thursday (today) a pair of owls spent the day in the box! If they all could be this easy!
if you look closely a red phase to the right and a grey phase a bit recessed in the shadow to the left.
First note comes from Atlanta GA,
I finally had the box installed this past weekend, in between the two winter storms that visited Atlanta; I had initially intended to do it myself, but I quickly found out that there was no way I could get up 20 feet on a ladder holding the box and fastening it to the tree. So I called a tree service and they did a fine job. I will keep you updated on future tenants!
Thanks for the update, looks like a well placed box and a tree service is an excellent idea for safe installation!
Second note comes from Brown Mills NJ,
I ordered a Screech Owl box from you a couple years ago. Up til today the only thing that has gotten in the box has been wasps to my knowledge. Up til today? Yep…a red Screech Owl has hopefully taken up residence and I couldn’t be more excited! It really made my day (week!) to see something in that slot when I looked this morning. I check it every day. As I said in the past, I’ve heard Screech Owls in the backyard and even saw one once but I certainly never thought one would grace my backyard in such a way.
I’m sending along a not so great picture. It was taken through the window at a good distance as I didn’t want to risk spooking the owl. As I type this, he’s sitting in the entrance watching what’s going on. It’s 5:25 and getting dark so I’m sure he’ll be hunting soon.
and a bit more follow up
Unfortunately we only saw it for 2 days. I can’t imagine where it went or what caused it to leave. I hope it will come back. It seemed quite content in there.
Thanks for the update, and hopefully it will be back soon!
A quick check of the cam here, and what appears to be the gray female taking a ‘mid morning’(for an owl) snooze. Nothing too exciting about that, but upon closer inspection…Even better she has cached a mouse with her. Despite quite a few snow storms, including an afternoon 4 inches today, she is able to get some rest and have a meal for later.
An 8:53 time stamp tonight. see the mouse from the bottom of the screen, the eyes are reflecting, tail near the owl wing.
A red phase screech owl that is…an update from the owner…
The ‘pale gray’ owl had been seen regularly until the arrival of another owl in early December. I believe this visitor was a gray morph owl, that briefly used the round box and explored the neighborhood for a few days. The red owl first appeared in mid-November. Since its first, brief sighting in our yard, on Dec. 5th, the red owl returned to roost here on an intermittent basis. The ‘pale gray’ owl continued to stay in our box for several days and hasn’t been seen since mid-December. Recently, the red owl has been seen in our yard more frequently, 16 out of 21 days this month. Sometimes I get up before dawn to monitor owl activity in our backyard. In the pre-dawn darkness, I have seen an owl fly into and fly out of the slot box on several occasions. This pattern sometimes includes a visit to the round box. I used to think that owls would stay out hunting all night and they would only return to use the box as a roost from dawn to dusk. I now realize that the box is used when-ever the owl wants to.
These photos were taken yesterday, the focus isn’t crisp but I now have a photo of the red owl. First Image was taken about 4:30pm and the second was taken about ½ hour after sunset. It is a 1+sec. exposure while I held my camera tightly to my telescope on its tripod.
Thanks again for the excellent update!
Ok I found a Barred today, I first flushed it but then it flew back towards me, choosing to keep and eye on me from a comfortable distance up in a white pine.
This was a place where I still believe has some good Long-Eared potential, but this time I was by myself, without the family. There is enough (area wise) habitat that I still will be checking it occasionally for long-eareds. Last year we flushed a Barred owl in almost the same area. So this could (most likely) be a resident owl(s).
Which brings me to the deer ticks…Back in november we took a family walk here no owls were seen, but we even brought along my Mom for the hiking adventure. It was a pretty standard November day. After a bit of walking along the trails we decided to do a Tick Check…WOW we each had a bunch of deer ticks on our pants. From then on every 5-10 minutes we would stop along the way back, and take off at least a handful of deer ticks from everyone, It really was a nightmarish amount, such as we have never experienced. So it seems this will only be a dead of winter place to walk.
anyway…here is todays barred
All I had to do was post that things were fairly normal here, and voila, not so ‘normal’ anymore. So a second barred owl has shown up. I don’t know how long its has been around, but only recently had I notice a ‘new’ roosting spot. Turns out it was not only a new spot, but a ‘new’ owl about 100yards away from the ‘regular’ barred owl. Today was the first time I have seen them at the same time. So this certainly make things interesting, as there is a very good chance these two are paired up. I wonder if they will find a suitable nesting site near by…which would be ‘too?’ close to the screech owl site, or maybe this is just a wintering ground and they will find a better spot come spring.
Things here seem fairly normal, with the female spending a few days a week in the box. I have not seen the (red phase) male since early season (October) but this is fairly typical as well. The winter barred owl nearby is also around, although the snowy owl sightings in the area have lessened quite a bit as well.
I am starting a new section/tab to the blog, yep, called spreading the resistance. So this is an open invitation for those that have got a box from owloasis (etsy) or even if you have built your own type of squirrel resistant box I would love to hear any stories box,owl or squirrel related, photos always helpful but they don’t need to be original size, reduced files are easier to email anyway. I will be posting any stories and photos sent along and keeping them in this section by tags/tabs. I will tend to keep it to first name and state, or just initials and state, I’ll keep it at vague as the ‘you’ would like, if you choose to share. So if interested email me at owloasis at (replace with @) yahoo.com. Please title the email with ‘spreading the resistance’ so I can keep the stories separate from general email.
I’ll start with Clara from Massachusetts, Thank you so much sharing, excellent pictures and Congrats on the owls!!
Just noticed the new member in the box. YIPPY KI YEA. They look like the same pair as last year, as I compare the photos from last season!
The Male came first on Dec 4th and she arrived today the 12. So wonderful.
My husband got me a new camera so for my birthday so having fun recording the arrival.
Thanks for this fun.