To me it looks like two eggs, but might not be since there is some debri/feather covering what looks like a second egg.
If she was going to lay more than one, there should be a second one there by now, but unfortunately (for us viewers not for the hungry mom) there seems to be a prey item cover the egg(s).
A year and a day after last years early egg laying, she is at it again with the first egg! The egg was not there the morning of the 20th. So most likely it occurred last night (Feb 20, 2011), as she stayed in the box as far as I could tell all night. At least she was there with periodic checks from dusk till bed, 10:00ish. So this is the first I have seen of it, after I got the yell from my wife, that there was an egg. It looks like those night visits and naps were because of this.
Anyway, with last years early date, lots of speculation as to why? but it seems this is just her internal clock.
It was a year ago today that this female laid her first egg…To my knowledge that was the earliest recorded egg laying for screech owls in Massachusetts.
Anyway, the female has been spending some time in the box at night recently. And these were just the times that I ‘caught’ her. Does this mean anything? It will be fun to find out.
Why any particular screech owl becomes 'comfortable' with a box is still a bit of mystery. One of the reasons for pairing (circle hole and slot) is to see if this matters to owls. So far I would give a slight edge to the slot design, but very far from conclusive. Anyway….from Site 8.
After almost a full year an owl has finally tried out the ’round hole’. This was a one day trial period, however, because the same (i believe) owl has been using the slot box on a regular basis.
The last few nights she has been visiting the box quite a bit during the night. She was in the entrance at 6:00pm then took off. As of 9:00pm she was sleeping in the corner. Now shes up. A nap after a meal? Hopefully. I originally thought she might be done for the night, now not so much.
Reports remain good from down south a bit in Maryland. The red phased owl here has been seen consistently through the winter.
Another great composite this time of owl prints in the snow and description from the owner of Site 8
upper right corner is a nice look at the box set up, the circle hole (to this point unused) closer and the hard to see slot box on the slanted black cherry tree in the back ground…
I shoveled a path to the compost bins this morning (1/22/11 ) and found these owl impressions in the snow. It’s unclear if the owl won, but his body & wings left their marks in the snow. I suspect that the boxes’ proximity to the compost bins makes this an attractive site. GO OWLS all you can eat fly