The male (red phased) was roosting in the circle hole box 10/26/10
this is the first sighting for him this season. Its nice when they are different colors phases. Last years nest was in the slot box, and to date the female has not used the circle hole box.
Took a family trip down to Maryland, and low and behold the resident owl was using the Box, it is about the reddest red phased screech owl I have seen, anyway with the owl in the box, made an annual clean out a bit unorthodox. Had to wait until the owl left for the night before the clean out. Hopefully, the owl doesn’t get too alarmed at the new clean bedding. It was there Friday and Saturday but was not there Sunday, the day after the night cleaning…Hopefully it will be back soon!
Got a report for the first sighting of the year here over last weekend (16th), with a red phased owl in the box. The first sighting here has usually been later in the year (Decemberish).
Looks like the Owl that found the boxes in April has came back for another visit. Well its difficult to say definitively that its the same owl, but the phase is the same (gray), so my guess its the same.
Sunday October 17, first confirmed occupancy, in the slot style box.
“They (bluejays and other songbirds) have also begun to pay some attention to the owl boxes, including perching on the slotted opening and screaming into the box. It has been strangely quiet all day today, but my suspicions were confirmed. Just after the Patriots won the game, I spotted a gray morph Screech Owl in the slotted box! I couldn’t get a good look with dirty windows and lingering leaves, so I don’t know if it is the same owl that was here last April.”
Screech owl as a whole are not all that predictable. But the female owl here (gray phase) has been consistent with starting to roost in the owl box around mid October. I haven’t been good at getting exact dates until this year (aka this blog). Anyway this is the first day back in the box. The camera here will also be up (maybe a tidepool cam on days when there is no owl). here is the link again. (for whatever reason, the streaming works better on IE than others, such as Firefox)
Late Summer through fall is known as dispersal season with our resident owls. This is when, the parent owls reclaim their territory and juvenile owl try to find a territory of their own. Its a good time to listen at night as they tend vocalize as this plays out.
October also starts the Saw-Whet migrations into the area. Saw-Whet owls are very rare breeders in Massachusetts. They are more numerous in the winter as they move in from the North and West.
So far this season, Great Horned (Site 4), Screech, Saw-Whet (Site 8), and early this morning (4:00 am) at Site 2, a Barred owl was hooting.
A good quality (albeit a somewhat sad) vid. of some backyard screech owls in Florida, with some nice low light footage, it ends with a fact of screech owl ‘life’.
I generally clean out the boxes that have nests once a year, usually in Sept., running a bit late this year. By cleaning out in the late summer, it allows the nest debri to dry out (gloves and dust mask highly recommended), and reduces the risk of interrupting a roosting owl which may scare them away. Nest debri when dry isn’t too bad, kinda a mix of wood chips, feathers and dried ick. With the boxes that are unused or used just as roosts, its a check and see, sometimes starlings remove the wood chips, so you are left with nothing much on the bottom, other times things look pretty good, maybe a few pelletes and there is no need to clean it out.