Month: September 2011

Returning Owl

Site 8

I did some nest box checking and cleaning this past weekend, a few more to go, but got this note from the owner

On Saturday [9/17] That (the cleaning) must have made the box more attractive because there is a dark gray/brown owl in the slot box at 8:30 this morning! During the past month there have been a few raucus protests by the yard-birds, which have made me suspect the presence of an owl in our yard. It is gratifying to confirm an owl IS here, the first sighting since the owlets fledged last May.

My notes:
The Circle hole box was completely cleaned out, and wood chips were replaced as this was the nest box. The slot box I did not replace any wood chips since this was not the nest box, just removed a few old pellets but left whatever feathers were in there. This is the first time that an owl has been seen so soon after a clean out on one of the boxes on this ‘trail’, but I know of at least one other instance of owl activity very soon after a clean out. there may be some to it being more attractive, or maybe a ‘who’s been sleeping in my bed’ in an owl way.

Update: seen 9-20 and 9-21

the owl was visible in the slot box for most of the morning & early afternoon, I had to peer through the dirt of both glass & screen doors and the walnut leaves so I didn’t have a clear view of it. With binoculars I could see that it had a dark gray-brown head with a lot of white on the breast.This owl did not look like any of the individuals documented in the many photos I took last season.

Some can’t get any owls, if this is a different owl, that would make 5 distinct individuals documented at this site in the last 1.5 years.


Site 2 Sora!

Site 2

what a fun morning! letting our dog back in to the house in the morning, I notice his head is buried in some hosta’s near our back door, sometimes when he has done this out pops a mouse or chipmunk scurrying for cover, this time a two legged creature came scurrying out…hey that looks like a rail…Grabbed the dog, put him inside. Relocated the little juvenile sora, at first it stayed in the cover of bushes and behind a bin that the lawnmower is kept. I sat still and it came out and foraged a bit in the yard, and under some blueberry bushes…now that is one backyard bird.

PS. Heard a barred owl a couple nights ago.

2011 Season Wrap Up

I was holding off on doing this hoping that site 9 would have a late nesting confirmed, but at this point I would be very surprised if fledgling are seen this late…but the summer activity does bode well for next nesting season.

Site 1
Screech Owls,
Male=red phased
Female=gray phased
First Egg late pm 2/20/2011 or early morning 2/21/2011
# of Eggs……………..4
First Hatch 3/28/2010
# Hatched…………….3 (one egg most likely froze)
Fledged ……………….3
(1 fledged on 4/29/2011, 2 fledged 4/30/2011)

Site 2
No Owls in Box,
House sparrows attempted,
Great Horned Owls nested 0.5 miles away…large owl pellet with rabbit remains at site 2.

Site 3
Screech Owls,
Male=gray phased (confirmed 2011 perhaps new male for 2011)
Female=red phased
First Egg 3/30/2011 (+/- 2 day based on hatching)
# of Eggs ………….5
First Hatch 4 had hatched 5/1/2011
# Hatched………… 5
Fledged……………. 5
(2 fledged 5/28/2011, 3 fledged 5/29/2011)

Site 4
No screech owls seen, Tree with box fell with a storm on December 27,2010 not replaced for 2011.

Site 5

Screech Owls,
Male= ?
Female=red phased
First Egg ??? similar 2011? food delivery March 13th 2011
# of Eggs…………. ??
First Hatch ???
# Hatched ………… 1+
Fledged …………….1+ (one fledgling was seen in entrance)

<a href="">Site 6
No screech owls seen,
great horned owls heard occasionally 2011

Site 7
no screech owls seen for 2011

Site 8
Screech Owls, 4 different seen and photo’ed 3 gray phased and 1 red phased
Male= Gray phased (browner)
Female=Gray phased
First Egg 3/27/2011 (+/- 3 days extrapolated from fledge)
# of Eggs………….
First Hatch 4/28/2011 (+/- 2 days extrapolated from fledge)
# Hatched ………… 3 (maybe 4)
Fledged ……………. 3 all by 5/26/2011(maybe 4)

Site 9

Screech Owls 2 (gray phased seen 12 days after installation, no sitings Feb-May, Gray and Red Phased seen June-August no confirmed nest
Male= ?(presumed red phased)
Female=?(presumed gray phased
First Egg none confirmed
# of Eggs.none confirmed
First Hatch none confirmed

2011 Totals:
screech owl eggs …….13 + (12+ Massachusetts)(1+ Maryland)
screech owl fledged…..12+ (11+ Massachusetts)(1+ Maryland)

Added Three Research Links

3 new links in the Owl Research section.
First is another paper on Home Range but instead of CT, the study was conducted in KY.

Second is a Paper on vocalizations (singing) and actually documents what I have been saying about dispersal season (its a good time of year to listen for screech owls), it seems (at least in KY) that August is the peak time of singing for screech owls, with a secondary peak Feb (corresponds to pre-breeding season)

Lastly, a comparison study with nest boxes vs. natural cavities in TX.

Like Last Year

Site 3

Just like last year, not only did the female (red phased) owl spend some time in August roosting in the pole box, she is making frequent visits and has been roosting there a few times a week. There are some pictures around the web of screech owls in natural roosts in August, and most seem to be in obvious molt (balding head). This owl while she may be molting is not as obvious as the pics. Most other screech owls that I have experience with don’t seem to move in to roost until October.

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