Month: February 2012

Last Years Pair

Site 8

2/25/12 Update:
From the owner

In the overcast light of late afternoon(2/24), I could confirm that it was “white face” in the ‘circle box’. While I believe it was the “pale gray” owl in the slot box, the added shadow of the overhanging roof made that owl look darker than usual. Will try to confirm later today, I missed them this morning.

Reports from here continue to be excellent as we close on on prime nesting season (mid march to mid april) for screech owls in Massachusetts.

From the owner

We have seen the “pale gray” owl in the slot box nearly every day this month. Recently I believe that I’ve seen the “white face” owl a few times, but the two owls are very hard to tell apart in the dim light of dawn/dusk. This past week we’ve heard an owl calling, briefly, on a couple of occasions. This morning, however, I could confirm that the “white face” owl is back and it was roosting in the round hole box! I haven’t seen both owls at once, but I believe that we have have a mated pair in our yard. I don’t have a recent photo of the owl I believe is “white face”, but I’ve attached one of the “pale gray” owl taken last Saturday.

Thank you very much for the update!

Gruesome Mystery

So I was checking out a place I hadn’t been to for years, trying to find some long-eared owls, I found lots of scattered pellets here and there, but no concentration of them that would indicate a favorite roost. Then at first glance I thought I found a pair of owl roosting 10-15 feet up in a group of red cedars near a salt marsh. On second glance I thought it was some black trash bag, (I was on the shady side), then ok it has feathers but its not alive, I was looking at its back and it was dark, I was thinking dead owl? dead harrier? made my way around to the front and the front was light, sort of streaked, juv. cooper’s hawk?
Then I saw the feet not raptors talons, mmmm, I don’t think I could see the head. After some ID work I think I have the ID down. But I would like to see some other ID if others come to a independent conclusion. It may always be a mystery how and why it got there in the first place. And struck out on the owl front.

Warning a bit graphic, so I put them in a small gallery format, just click if you want to see larger versions.

Should be Getting Close

Site 1

If the last 2 years (feb 19 and feb 20 first eggs) are any indication there should be the first egg laid soon, given the mild winter there could already be one. This couple clock is about 1 month ahead of most screech owls in massachusetts for nesting. But as I mentioned earlier the box cam was damaged beyond repair with a tropical storm last august (2011) and it hasn’t been replaced yet, hopefully by next season. Anyway the male has been in the nest box recently? does this mean the female is down below or things just haven’t got started yet. I am unwilling to open the box up to check for fear of disturbing them. The time line for incubation to fledging is fairly well established so if things progress smoothly things can be back calculated from when owlets fledge with in a couple days of egg laying. Which is good enough for me.

Copulating Couple

Site 3

First, sorry no terrific photos (no photos at all) of the event.
The male was seen in the pole box in the late afternoon. He remains very elusive except when staying in this box, and even then he just seems skittish. The female was in the (previously nest) SQR type box (w/cam) a good opportunity to watch the couple at fly out. The female flew out first called a few times, and then was joined by them male. I got to observe a brief copulation and then they flew off.

The female from the inside the box, sitting in the hole before flyout.

The female from outside the box.

The male in the Pole box.