Nice to have some good news… This site has been active all fall-winter,
From Jan 15th.
We have had an interesting owl season so far and it is very different from other years. Starting in October we first had a lengthy visit from a female gray morph owl. She stayed off and on for a month. We then have had a red male owl who frequents the box quite often ( staying for hours), then disappears for a few weeks. The little red male recently left a mouse in the box and then retrieved it 2 days later. Around the same time the mouse was left a female joined the male in the box for a minute! We don’t know what It all means and considering the last 2 years 2 owls stayed in the box almost every night ( actually 5 years) but left on March 20 and set up house somewhere else. The previous years we had 3 sets of owlets that fledged successfully. Fingers crossed that they will decide to stay.
Looks like the pair has decided to nest in the box this year!
We have an egg!
I should have realized this sooner, but the 2019 nesting season was my 10th season. So I went back through my data and the minimum owlets that have fledged from the sites that I have monitored in Northeast Massachusetts is 98+. I know of numerous other owlets that have fledged from Massachusetts boxes that are not technically part of this trail so I can ‘say’ over 100 fledglings. Not to mention these do not account for the box in Maryland that was part of this project. Figured I keep it to NE massachusetts boxes. Anyway here are some photos. And I know I need to get going on the 2020 season site updates as well!
Children, all three are there
The play on words I can not take credit for, I saw it on a social media owl site but it is very fittingly applied to the first points of the season, which did happen on Super Bowl Sunday. Late start this year for owl points. Anyway, my wife gets the first 2 points of the year, we went for a long family walk and she was able to fist see a great horned owl, and a snowy owl. The great horned owl was a truly impressive find from a distance, in fact I thought at first it was just a suspicious clump of leaves and pine needles after she pointed it out. We then got quite a bit closer to reveal it was in fact an owl that was behind the pine needles.
The great horned owl after we got closer to confirm, yes an owl
The trail when right under the tree that the owl was in, able to get a good photo.
A little ways after the great horned owl, my wife sees this snowy owl
My Wife 2 points
Me 0 points
Last year I earned the trophy with a 3 points to 2 total, breaking the tie driving my son home from practice, with this late day road side hunting barred owl and was able to get this ‘high-key’ portrait of it.
Late getting this up this year, hopefully get caught up on the activity from over the winter soon.
2019 Decent year but record keeping a bit difficult this year plus a little site relocations.
No Nesting this year, A red phased seen a couple times on a screen capture at night in box, and once in late fall foliage nearby.
No screech owls…but calling of barred owls are heard regularly.
Screech Owls: female red phased, successful nesting
Total: 2+ owlets fledged around 5/31/2019
Relocated for 2019 season:
Successful nesting total: 3 owlets fledged by 6/7/2019
Maryland no owls, box fell down.
at least 1 red phased screech owl at site all winter into spring.
Total: nesting was never confirmed, may have been a lost mate from last year.
photo from 3/2/2019
Massachusetts :Relocated for 2017 season
2019: Red and Gray pair
Total: Fledged 3+ owlets late may.
Total 2019: Did nest 2+ owlets fledged by early June.
No Nesting most likely nested in a near by natural hollow, as they were heard through out the spring
screech owl fledged….. 10+ (massachusetts).
This is prime egg laying/incubation time. Over the winter a new site #4 was located, since the old one was discontinued. The owner has set up and external trail cam to catch the action out side the box, and has recorded some food transfers from the male (the food provider) and the female as she incubates the presumed eggs.
let see if the embed videos work.
First is a February defense of the box against a pesky starling. The talon thrust seems quite effective!
Next is a food delivery from 4/13/19 hopefully good things to come from this new site location!
Activity began in January: Owner observation in italics:
We have had another larger red owl who has moved in. We had a Barred owl that was hunting and out in the morning here. I also hear the Barred owl out at night in our yard. This may be the reason the owls have been coming and going. This larger red owl has ,however moved in.
A brief usurping of the squirrel resistance in Mid Feb.
Thank you, the squirrel is missing for 2 days. I just went up and pulled out all of the leaves and the box is ready for the owls again- silly squirrels- first one in 5 years
Activity has continued:
We have had a female red owl and a male red owl off and on for the last 5
weeks. This female seems to be very comfortable here. I have never seen the
male and female together. I have however seen mice that were left in the
Enjoy- the picture with the snow is from this morning ! she is happy
Now it seems a Gray Phased has appeared, from today March 17th.
Little gray male again today
Thanks for the updates, and we are about 2 weeks from peak egg laying time, hopefully the activity will continue!
Its not often I find one saw-whet owl, so I was a bit taken back when I found 2 on a walk. I even double backed along the trail just to make sure the first one hadn’t followed me. Maybe a pair, or maybe just a good year for them? No points for the challenge(solo walk) but exciting anyway.
Saw-whet owl #1,
Saw-whet #2 seen about 15-20 minutes later.
Score: 2 to 2
It has been a better than average year for snowy owl sightings so we took our first family walk of the season along a local beach and trails on a mild December day. Now my wife stopped to help out our youngest put some layers of clothes into a backpack and I casually walked up a head. My wife did not like the apparent cheating by me looking for owls while she was helping out. She quickly filed a complaint to the rules committee. The committee quickly sent out a ruling that this did not violate any rules and it was indeed a fair part of the challenge. This ruling would comeback to haunt me a little later on as I helped our youngest up the trail of a larger dune. My wife took the competitive advantage, scampered to the top to get a good view and quickly found 2 snowy owls before anyone else reached the top. We are now tied with 2 owl points a piece, but it seems like this year is a better owl year for us, as there have been plenty of owl sightings the were not counted as points. Especially barred owls seem to be around in good numbers this season. So hopefully more points to come.
First snowy owl, 1 point for wife.
Second snowy owl, 1 point for wife
the rest of these owls were not found with-in challenge parameters so no points.
barred owl (solo owl walk, no points)
This screech owl was in a hollow used last year, (no points)
another solo find, barred owl
This barred owl seen with-in a couple hundred feet of the barred owl below(solo owl find, no points)
a saw-whet in a pine found on a solo owl hunt (no-point)
Very nice, a very popular wordpress nature and photography blogger (site has over 10,000 followers)seems to have purchased an owl box just under 4 years ago. Just recently did a post about the first resident owl. Congrats! read the full account here: Emily Carter Mitchell ~ Nature as Art. nature and wildlife photography
as a side note, sorry but currently I am just doing boxes locally (NE massachusetts) but I am looking into a substitute format for the etsy store.
The recent saw-whet owl was near by, but seemed to have only stayed in that roost for 1 day. I thought I had re-found it when I heard a cacophony of scolding nuthatches, chickadees,titmice,cardinals, and a single white-throated sparrow. Their ire was directed at small-mid sized well-foliated norway maple. Scanning the tree for the suspect owl, I finally got a glimpse of the culprit, but it wasn’t the saw-whet. It was a red phased screech owl. Most likely the same red phased owl that the box camera caught back on September 24th. The owl had not been back to the box since that day, but it would seem its still in the area, as the maple tree roost is about 700-800 feet away from the box.
red phased screech owl, through the only foliage window.