There has been some brooding (excuse the pun, I actually meant to type ‘broadening’ but brooding seems fitting as well) interest in these type of boxes, and thought it would be a good idea to formalize an ordering process. One of our friends had an Etsy shop so my wife thought I should try it out. So there is now an OwlOasis shop on Etsy selling the two types of screech owl boxes I make and use for this ‘trail’. We will see how it goes and Feedback is most welcome.
so with out further words.
Based on History, we are pretty close to egg laying time at this site. There could be an egg underneath her (or Not). Based on this position seen yesterday around noon, she was not incubating. This is a standard roosting position. Things will probably be changing soon. (hopefully)
I will have to come up with a clever site name for this one, as they only pair that I am observing that are not associated with an owl box. I am almost positive they both are gray phase, I have not found their preferred hollow(s) yet. But they do frequent a relatively small area and call frequently at dusk (just after fly out). Last night I heard them, then found them side by side on a branch. This quickly gave way to copulation, the male flew off and the female stayed put for quite a while (10-15 min).
The female is pictured here.
I had to drop some one off at the airport at 5:00am, so afterwards I headed to site 1 to try to figure out if the female had disappeared or if she was incubating under the male. The male, unlike other years, has been occupying (daily) the SQR type box that had been nest the previous 2 years. It seemed very strange, there is a second unoccupied box on site (150ft away) that he usually stayed in during the first part of incubation. It was ~ 5:50am when I arrived, I couldn’t find an owl silhouette anywhere, I gave in to temptation and whistled an imitation. Almost immediately I saw an owl fly off from the direction of the box to the left, and then a second owl. I saw what I think were two owls in a tree, one about 7-8 feet above the other, with some quiet calls between them. I set up a distance in front of the box and waited. I didn’t wait long until what I think was the female flew to the entrance and disappeared quickly in to the box. There was a few call that seemed to come from the box. A few minute later the male showed up and eventually landed in the entrance, there he stayed the rest of the day. So I am pretty sure the female is incubating eggs underneath. I hedge a bit just because it was dark and I never saw them at the entrance together, nor did I get a picture of a definitive gray phase (female).
The photo is right as the male landed at the entrance, the dilation in his eyes says it was dark!
I found a pair of screech owls about 500 yards away (down the street) from Site 2 I had the intention of seeing if any owls were around by imitation, but I heard one calling first (all the better), then saw it flying through a couple of trees, it looked like it was catching insects in and around the branches as it was flying from branch to branch more like a warbler than an owl. It was eventually joined by a second owl. So ‘she’ is not incubating yet. But they should be staying near by. From the experience watching owls with the boxes, they don’t travel very far right after fly out.
Only got this blurred pic, a 4 second exposure, manual focus (guess) as it was too dark for the camera to autofocus. Well at least I can tell its a gray phase, oh and if you look very closely above the head of the owl is a ghost outline of the second owl that took off right as the shutter was triggered. (2 sec time delay).
Got this email and composite from the owner of site 8.
Both owls have been seen regularly since mid February. The male is probably the “pale gray” owl roosting in the slot box. He is seen more frequently at dawn and dusk, with occasional appearances during the day. The “white face” female has shifted to the circle box and appears less frequently than the male. Her infrequent appearances have been made at dawn and/or dusk.
My Notes: its a bit more difficult telling the pair apart when they are the same color morph. But this composite is very helpful to document the same pair as last year, THANKS!
Unlike the last 2 years, the male has been spending lots of time in the slot style SQR box. This has been used as a nest the last two years, with eggs being laid 3rd week in February. History would have him staying in ‘his’ box. I have not seen the female since early feb, which isn’t unusual as she would only make very brief breaks at dark and pre-dawn for pellet/bathroom breaks from incubating.
So, is the female down below incubating peaceably and he is standing guard?
has the female chosen somewhere else to nest?
or has the female disappeared and he’s hanging on the prime nest box?
ahh if only the cam was working. Hopefully this will be known as the season progresses.
So the couple is still around, the female was in the ‘nest’ box, the male was in the ‘pole box’ and after it gets dark he seem to get less skittish. After fly out, he flew to a branch, then flew back to the ‘nest’ SQR type box and did some unusual calling, I have heard it call a “Geiger counter” call before, but this is the first I have heard it myself.