Month: November 2011

Snowy Owl Irruption Map

Saw this link on the internet, thought I would pass it a long, its a google map with ‘pins’ at snowy owl sightings, check to see if there is one near you or add a new one. So here is the snowy owl irruption map

as I posted earlier its turning out to be a good year for snowies.

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Snowless Snowy Owl

Not really part of this trail,

Just took the family up to Salisbury Beach State Reservation on this unseasonably warm friday, its a fairly close place that has an RV/campgrounds, beach, a small playground, and is ‘known’ for the winter owls in Massachusetts, Snowy, Saw Whet, Short eared, and Long eared. A snowy owl on was perched on top of the Bath House this day. Seems like a preferred perch, as I have seen one in the exact same place a couple years ago. It seems to be a ‘good’ year for snowies as there seem to be quite a number of them reported for this time of year.

Squirrel Resistant not Proof

Site 1
Site 8

A couple of squirrel incidents recently.

So far if a SQR type box is place properly I have not had a squirrel take up residence in a box, however I have seen them try, they way the do is latch there hind legs to the peak of the box and slowly stretch themselves down the roof with their fore legs out stretch to the sides, when they get to the maximum stretch, they are right at the end of the roof. On a plain SQR type box they have reached for the opening while sliding off the roof. (they higher the box is from the ground or next limb, helps a bit as squirrels are less bold the further the drop). Now I had a small owlet rail on ‘his box” on at site one, I suspect this was just enough of a protrusion that allowed the squirrel to access the box before sliding off. I have taken off the owlet rail, and have seen the male in the box once since, and more importantly no more squirrel.

“His box” early last spring, with the owlet rail.

“His box” a few days ago, after finding the squirrel and taking the owlet rail off, I tried to photo the male owl, but he retreated into the box, but you can see some of the squirrel damage on the upper right of the hole.

Now at Site 8 I got this email from the owner Oct 22, 2011.

Sat. 9:30 am – I just watched a squirrel climb down the top of the slot box. It peeked over the bottom edge, saw the owl roosting in the slot, and it quickly turned around and beat a hasty retreat. This is the first “security breach” I’ve seen on these “squirrel resistent” boxes.

It sounds like it tried out the roof, didn’t let go with its hindlegs, and was able to pull itself back for the retreat , but the good news, No apparent follow up attempt as of yet!

Clean it and They Will Come

Site 5

Made a trip down to Maryland (D.C area) to visit my sister and her family with my family, No sighting of an owl this year before the visit. The area seems both owl-ly and squirrel-ly but I wasn’t overly concerned. Also this is a consistent site with owls that are inconsistent. The date of first sighting in the box seems to vary wildly. It is likely this site has had a screech owl nest every year since 2008. We showed up Thursday pm, no owl. I did ‘whistle’ up an owl to respond Friday night. While imitating an owl is a decent way to tell if they are near by I have seen nothing to suggest that it will attract them to a box in any way. But there was an owl around. I was comfortable enough that there was no owl in the box during the day saturday, that I clean it out in the afternoon (as opposed to waiting till dark to make sure there was no owl). The debri was consistent with a nesting debri which is like a dusty mortar with woodchips and feathers. Replaced the wood chips. After the box was buttoned up, as I was cleaning up the ladder and tools. A screech owl quietly called with a monotone ‘bounce’ a few times (it was late afternoon but still plenty light). The next door neighbors have a bamboo ‘forest’ ahh, maybe 300 sq feet of 15-20 foot bamboo, probably make a good roosting place for the owl. Anyway Sunday morning, viola an owl in the box. This is the second time this season that an owl returned the day after a cleaning! Are they watching? Need to claim the hollow after a intruder? Whatever the reason its fun! Photo taken first thing sunday morning right before we left. A good way to leave.