Sometime on or before April 22 (when the pic was taken) the first egg hatched. She never got up, but I did hear the chick like noises and her tail was moving as if something was wiggling underneath it, by now they have all (that will) hatched. I checked the cam on Saturday afternoon, and again, no count as she didn’t get up but she was busy feeding them, and I saw at least one mouse that had been cached. Food is alway a pleasant sight with a box cam.
Wait, what was that, is there something in the box??? I thought to myself as I am looking through a bunch of budding leaves and branches. I walk to a clearing and see something gray slink back down out of the entrance. Hmm, shouldn’t be a squirrel…are owls that plentiful that another owl would use the box while the family was away? So I watch a little bit, a squirrel sits on branch to the right(facing) of the box and a red phase screech owls swoops from out of the the near by yew and takes a pass at the squirrel and lands in the entrance. Uh Oh, the only reason I could think of that they would be back at the box would be because the owlet didn’t make it. So I took a walk to the area where I had last seen the owls. Sure enough I found the little owl on the road by a curb. So I would chalk it up to an auto. A second possibility would be it was too weak to survive a wind and rain storm that had recently passed through but I think an auto would be the more likely cause. Now Gehlbach has a section on Renesting but this is with failed nests,1 with chicks, but not much on fledging failures, I don’t know if this would be considered a second brood? I am hoping that this pair may try to nest again as they are back in residence.
Warning Last Image is Graphic (click to view larger)
Just after the male took a pass at the squirrel
Hopefully a new beginning
poor little guy
Update from (4-20-12):
Got a couple more photos from Day 5 after fledging, This was their last day in the crab apple they have moved off now.
This site only fledged a lone owlet this year. Previously 2010 there were 6 fledglings, last year 3 fledglings. So it may just be a tough year food wise here, despite the ‘easy’ winter. Anyway, it fledged on the night/early am of the 14-15th of april. Which is just about a full week earlier than 2010 (with a first egg date of February 19th). They consistently have taken the same path through some large Yews to a Crab Apple, one of the earliest tree with leaves. They have hung out the last 3 days in the crab apple. Wrapping up this site as the owl family will soon be off and most likely unable to be located. As usual larger versions of the pics can be view by clicking 2 times (slow)
The dad just prior to fledging in a eastern red cedar
Mom in yew (day 1 after fledging)
Owlet in yew (day 1 after fledging)
Dad at the end of the row of yews (day 2)
Mom (Day 2)
Owlet (Day 2)
Dad (Day 3 crab apple)
Mom (Day 3)
Owlet (Day 3)
Day 5 Mom and Dad, the owlet was there but very well concealed so could really get an additional pic.
Took a stroll down the street to see if the unboxed pair are still around, it would seem they are nesting now, based on activity. Prior to nesting owls are usually quite active right after flyout as was previously noted/blogged. There is lots of calling and they were fairly conspicuous. It seems once nesting is underway they are much quieter, the female would be incubating, and the male busy hunting. Not to mention it would not be ‘wise’ to be advertising their nest site to potential predators. I only saw this one owl. Also I cannot find where they are staying either the roost cavity or hopefully a nest cavity, it will only get more difficult as leaves start appearing on the trees.
This site has alway had an unusually early nesting for screech owls in massachusetts. With the appearance of this owlet it would seem fledging is less than a week away??? Basing on previous years/owls, say if they fledge on the 14th of april, that would put the first egg date at or around feb 12th. Interesting development, I wasn’t expecting an owlet appearance quite this early, but it has been a strange season weather wise.
Found the male deep inside a large yew right out in front of the box, hopefully this means the owlets are getting bigger and more active and he no longer will be standing guard.
After the predawn visit, a couple weeks ago. I was almost positive that despite the male’s consistent presence that the female was dutifully incubating while he was standing guard. However, it is very nice to get a daylight confirmation. It was a nice day, and the owlets (hopefully) have enough feather insulation now.
Received an email update:
For the first week of March both the ‘pale gray’ male & ‘white face’ female appeared frequently in their preferred box (male in the slot box & female in the circle box). SInce then I’ve seen an owl at dawn and/or dusk, in the slot box practically every day in March. At first I assumed it was only the male that appeared daily. However the male and female are so similar, there were many days when I couldn’t be sure which one was visible in the slot box during the past 3-1/2 weeks. Yesterday morning I got up after 7am and missed the dawn ‘window’ of opportunity and didn’t see an owl in either box. In the late afternoon, however, the ‘white-face’ female appeared in the circle box! Soooo there may be something going on in the circle box after all!
Screech owls tend to go back to successful nesting hollows/box. AND, last year these owls(~2 days earlier) and Site 3’s owls were on very similar schedules, so my guess is there is some nesting going on in the circle hole box here! Thanks for the update!
Checked in on the cam just as the female hopped up to the entrance and saw 5 eggs(last 2 nesting she has laid 5 eggs too!), and she is now incubating, she hopped down very quickly as well, so no pic. That would put the first egg somewhere right around March 26th when I last checked, she was not incubating but never saw underneath to see if any eggs were laid.