Its been very difficult with the chilly weather we have been having to get a chance to see the eggs with out the mom on top of them. I did see they had not hatched as of dusk sunday 3-27-11, so I would put the first hatching most likely 3-28-11, there may be more now, but at least 1 egg remains, as some brief glimpses were visible as she fed the recently hatched owlet(s?)
feeding the recently hatched owl (head peaking out under her left wing)
and rolled the egg back under her when she was finished.
an egg that she tucked back under her when she was done feeding the hatchlings.
Both the box on the martin pole and the SQR box had an owl in it!
As a bit of a background, last year until today, the male had never been ‘seen’. There was a well known and photographed red owl that hung out in a natural roost about 1000 feet away from this site last winter. I had seen both owls roosting at the same time, in the tree and the box. It was close enough that this could have been the male, but far enough away that it didn’t have to be. It also seem to make sense that if the pair was two red owls then the male could have been in the box here and there and no one would be the wiser.
Which brings us to this first. I stopped by at dusk ~7:10pm, and both boxes had an owl in it. It was dark enough that I couldn’t tell the color of either of them by sight. I took a couple shots. I messed up the pole box one, I missed the focus and when I took down the camera from my eye, ‘he’ had already disappeared back down in to the box, without getting a chance to re-shoot and adjust. But it looks gray enough to me, hopefully not just an function of the poor lighting. If this is the male, is it a new different male or not? I guess we won’t know.
hopefully the female (confirmed red last year) is getting things ready in the box she used last year…or is it a new female in the pole box?
(see what happens when you figure out the camera settings? this photo was taken a few seconds AFTER the first photo.)
The red phase male has been hanging out on the cooler days in the circle holed box (around 150 feet from the nest box) while the gray female is busy incubating.
To give an idea of the layout, the red circle on the right is the slot/cam nest box, and the left circle is ‘his’ box…I have never seen the female use this box, perhaps its best she prefers the box with the cam in it so we can observe the nesting.
Got a report of a Great Horned Owl heard last night, used to be heard a few times a week until last February’s major storm…but they are still heard here occasionally.
A nice update from the Site 8 owner.
“During the past two weeks, either this owl (I’ve named it “White Face”) or the most regular owl visitor (which I call “Brown Owl”) has been seen in the ‘slot box’ on a regular basis; BUT NEVER AT THE SAME TIME! While the two owls appear distinctly different, they are very difficult to tell apart in the dim light of dawn & dusk. At dawn today (6:30am) one of the owls was in the ‘slot box’ and just now at 6:45 pm THERE IS AN OWL IN EACH BOX! We finally have confirmation of TWO OWLS!!! Sure enough, in this light I can’t tell one from the other.”
After great early returns on site 9, (owl resident 12 days after installation) things had gone quiet. An owl had not been seen since the last days of January. I may have put the Box too close to the drive way, it may have been too busy for the owls liking. Of course there are lots of possible other reasons, but since there was a seemingly better option/tree a bit further away, with significantly less ‘traffic’- more secluded, I decided to move the box. It may not work this year, but hopefully be a better spot for future years.
As for the installation, just a few photos of a simple method to make life easier hanging an owlbox on a tree. Its not my idea, although I do not use a “complex set of pulleys”. Just one, and some hardware hooks and clothesline type rope.
First step is attach the hardware hook and pulley about 6″ above where you want the box to be attached, next thread the clothesline through the pulley and pull it down the latter with you (you will need at least 40-50′ of line).
next, attach a hook to the box, and tie the line too it.
Carefully hoist the box into position
and tie off on the nearest solid object/tree
now all you have to do is position the latter, screw in the box to the tree, afterwards unscrew the hooks on the tree and box, and bring, or drop (when in doubt, let it go) the hardware,pulley, and rope down.
It makes life on the ladder that much safer.
The red male owl must have been flushed from his near by roost, or maybe protecting the female? He stopped in this afternoon, First time I have seen any male ‘appear’ in any nest box during daylight.
The picture says it all, this is the site 1 nest box, the female is peacefully incubating her 4 eggs. I don’t think squirrels even try to get into this box anymore, but they are still around and plentiful.
Got a Report from Maryland that, starting a few nights ago, the male has been seen making food deliveries to the female in the box first thing as it gets dark. Generally this will only happen if the female is on eggs.
Today she switched things up, instead of the pole box, she was making herself comfortable in the SQR type box that has a cam, last years nest box.