Site 9 story and 2017 recap

After taking a bit of a break from owl-land, I think I am ready for a new owling season, but before the new season is too far advanced here is some of last years loose ends tied up.

Here is the Run Down from the site 9 owner:

Here is the run down

10/31 Gray/Brown morph female was in the box for until 11/28/16 when the camera fell down and I had to retrieve it. When we opened the box, there was an owl there so we were quiet and closed the box and left them alone.

December 29, 2016 we had a gray male visits the box at night as well as a red female who moves in on January 16, 2017. We are able to record the activities at night with our owl cam that has an SD card so we can replay the events from the evening. All is well until the female stopped coming to the box. The male came every night over and over calling for the red female but she did not return ( something must have happened to her).  The male continues to call until 3/26/2017 when a gray female appears in our box in the morning. We had a bad storm that night and a lot of trees came down. We now have 2 gray( brown morphs) phase owls.

 On 4/8/2017 the female laid her first egg today and then every 2 days laid an egg for a total of 4 eggs.

 5/6/2017 the first egg hatched at 28 days.  5/17 the 2nd egg came, 5/8/17 the 3rd egg- but the 3rd owlet died on 5/11/17 then a 4th owlet was born on 5/12/17.

 All 3 babies were up in the slot on 6/7/17the first owlet fledged into the tree, 2nd owlet fledged on 6/8/17 and the little one ,  6/12/17 number 4 owlet  ( much smaller than its siblings) fledged at 8:55 pm

 It was an exciting owl season and these owls were amazing parents and so dedicated to their owlets. In fact when Blue Jays and Crows tried to get the owls, daddy came into the box with the whole family to lay flat and stay small to protect his family.

and the 2017 nesting summary:

It was a decent year, site 5 (maryland) site 8, and site 9 had successful nesting. Site 3 had activity into the winter but something happened to the owl that was using the box so there was no nesting attempt.

Site 1
Massachusetts
No Nesting this year, no screech owls present at all for the first time since box has been up. Both a Barred owl and Great Horned Owl appeared near by during the winter.

Site 2
Massachusetts
No screech owls…still(recent) calling of barred owls through out year.

Site 3
Massachusetts
Screech Owls: Red phase was present october-january but disappeared before nesting season…. no nesting this year.

Site 4

Discontinued

Site 5
Maryland successful nesting but details lacking
Screech Owls,
Male= ?
Female=red phased
First Egg ???
# of Eggs…………. ??
First Hatch ???
# Hatched ………… at least 2
Fledged ……………. at least 2

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

Site 7
Discontinued

Site 8
Massachusetts
Screech Owls, nesting occurred,
Male= Gray phased (browner)
Female=Gray phased
First Egg …………?
# of Eggs…………?
First Hatch…………?
# Hatched …………at least 3
Fledged ……………. 3 (almost certain)

Site 9
Massachusetts
site 9 relocated back in 2014, Some owl turnover through the years, but ended up with successful nesting.
Male= gray phased
Female= gray phased
First Egg:…4/8/17
# of Eggs……………. 4
First Hatch: ….5/6/17
# Hatched…………….4
Fledged ……………….3

2017 Totals:
screech owl eggs ……7 + (massachusetts) + Maryland
screech owl fledged…..6 (massachusetts)+ Maryland.

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Early Visitor

Site 3

Well this is a surprize….I haven’t even finished all the reports from last season…But now Site 3 has had an unexpected owl visitor the past 2 days. Mostly screech owls return to hollows(boxes) in October (in the Northeast) as the leaves and temperature start to drop. Previously the earliest owl visitor was August 13 in 2011. So this beats that early visit by 2 weeks!

Anyway, as a wrap up from last year, this site had an owl very consistantly through January, but then the owl ‘stopped coming.’  So this most likely is a new owl trying to claim prime real estate.  Low light picture has a bit of blur from a slow shutter speed/hand shake.   Hopefully better ones to come.

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As the Winter Turns

Site 9

Sorry for being negligent on this site, but there has been quite a bit of drama here. So I will try to catch everyone up to this seasons story here. All quotes are from the owner.

Back on November 4th 2016.

Hi Everyone
THIS OWL IS MUCH DARKER AND HAS A RED HUE TO HER- VERY SCARED TOO- SO FAR 2
DIFFERENT OWLS IN THE LAST FEW DAYS– we think? It is hard to tell LOLSONY DSC

This owl was regular through november, unfortunately in early Dec. 2016 a bit of a disturbance:

Hi ,
We had a bit of drama here as the camera was hanging down in the box on Monday somehow was knocked off the bracket. I climbed up and tried to use a mirror to see if the owl could be in there but I couldn’t see anything! So I unplugged the camera and I tried to Unscrew the bracket but I could get leverage so I carefully opened the front and then I realized the owl was sleeping in the front corner. I quickly and quietly closed the front and we left until we watched her fly out at night and then put a new bracket up and extended the threads on the screws so it would fall down again. She hasn’t been back since – she does miss 4 or 5 days here and there but I am worried.

It wasn’t until January, that another different owl returned, first seen at during the night visiting via a box camera:

We have a male red owl that came to the box at 2:20 am and stayed! I played the videos of the owl songs I have last night for 20 minutes! Maybe it worked ! It is a brilliant red male and spectacular looking! I was able to get a couple of pictures from outside too but I am no sure of the quality because I didn’t want to take a chance to scare him away

Happy MLK Day

IMG_0330 SONY DSC

Then on Jan 30th.

Looks like the gray owl is back and maybe they will mate! We were happy just having one red owl in the box! Now there is a lot of activity tonight! Exciting times are here!

But by Feb. 28.

Hi Everyone
Here is the latest update on the owls. It appears that something must have
happened to the red female . The gray male comes every evening and calls for
its mate (or someone new). The gray owl comes every night and scratches up
the nesting material and then calls for about a 1/2 hour. I thought I heard
an owl answer but mostly I hear no response. We are hoping that someone else
will come and join the poor little lonely gray male. Mating season is just
beginning so maybe he can lure another female in the box. He is adorable
and covers himself with shavings.

Which brings us to the current status:

An owl came to the box last night and is in there this morning!  There has been a lot of night time activity in the box with a gray male visiting and calling for hours. We also hear so many owls vocalizing all around our property! I am going to review the SD card as it is full of a visits from last night and will update everyone. We are hoping the sad male found someone new!

IMG_0889

Phew, happy to get caught up here–thank you for all the updates, and staying tuned!

Strange ‘Normal’

Site 1 (near by)

Looks like a great horned owl has moved in a least for the day.  Very close to  where the barred owl in the last post had been roosting, and its not the first winter here that both great horned and barred owls have been using these urban woods to spend the winter. I am a bit confused as to why these urban woods are so ‘owly’ but it won’t stop me from enjoying it while it last. (No points for these owls towards the challenge.)

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Owl Riches

 

Site 8

Some places takes years for screech owls to come by, this site however, seem to be ideal for the owls as there frequently seems to be more than one pair vying for the boxes here. From the owner:

The first owl was a red morph –[ perhaps the returning female of last season?
It arrived on October 27th. This red individual returned to our slot box on the 28th The same day I saw another red owl roosting in a tree hollow near by. Since then, the first red owl has visited our boxes 3-4 times a week. While this individual has been a frequent visitor; it hasn’t been the only one. I have seen a grey individual with brownish feathers on its chest and a pale grey individual with less distinct field marks.
To date I can confirm the presence of four individual owls: 2 red and 2 grey. They have been seen in our yard and at two other places within a quarter mile of our house..
Cheers

PS.The bad news is that at least one squirrel has managed to get into the new box

Seems at least one of the squirrel here after a few years figure out how to navigate into these boxes, hopefully the new box will be difficult enough to prevent a full scale take over…the old box was gnawed (they will gnaw through the vinyl and wood) to the point it was no longer squirrel resistant.

 

Rules Committee

Over the offseason the owling challenge rules committee determined that an increase in scoring  would add more interest. Thus in a unanimous decision it decided to allow points for owls in previously used hollows; provided the hollows had been inactive owl wise for at least a season.  This decision has already made an impact. As I was able to pick up another point in a known roost. An owl was first seen here back in Dec. 2012, and was seen on and off into the early spring of 2013.  Since then, the hollow seemingly had gone inactive until this past Wednesday when something looked a bit off.  Turns out it was a very well camouflaged screech owl that was taking up part of the entrance.  I am up 2-0.

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2016 Challenge Begins

Well… last year I lost 5 points to 3 to my wife.  That bitter taste lasted all summer long, so I was very focused and intensified my offseason training to do better this year. So far the intense training has given me the quick lead in this years owling challenge.  Or perhaps she was distracted by collecting driftwood.  Either way the first point was earned with a snowy owl at a local beach.  It seems it may be the 4th winter in a row with at least better than average snowy owl sightings.  So I am up 1 point to 0 early in the game.

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