Finding the Male

Site 1

If previous years are any indication, as the owlets grow, and the weather warms, the male spends its day out side of the box and roost in the near-by evergreens (large yew, atlantic red cedar). The challenge is finding Him, So far this year is shaping similar to previous except egg laying most likely was 2-3 weeks later than other years(which were unusually early for Screech owls in Mass)…usually the owlet(s) fledge the 3 week in April, and to date still awaiting confirmation that fledging should be mid May.

male in atlantic red cedar
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male in large yew near nest box
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2 comments

  1. Hi.

    Laurie here in eastern Washington State with the formica covered box. We had 3 eggs and 2 fledged last year. This year we had 4 eggs and 4 owlets!

    So I want to know your experience on whether the male makes food deliveries to the box when the owlets are young? He made many deliveries when mom was in the box incubating. So far, this year and last year, we have never seen a food delivery by males to the box after the chicks hatch. I know we have western Screech Owls and behaviors may be different…but do you know?

    As it is, this year, things are not looking good for a male being present at all. Although we have been fooled before I have been up for much of the night looking at the live feed camera in the box. Between 10:00 – 1:30 pm two nights ago, she made 5 trips with prey items that were no bigger than moths. One trip back was just a “check in the kids” with no prey. She starts hunting earlier than before and stays out when it’s lighter than before too, risking negative interactions with the crows. A crow’s nest is a few conifers down the street. The biggest item I see her feed are earthworms at daybreak! This has really changed from the sparrows and mice/voles that we were seeing fed. We or my neighbors haven’t heard the two vocalizing in a week or so.

    Do you know anything about this or do you know anyone with ‘Westerns’ that has some insight? I know this is the way things can go. I’m a wildlife bio. and last week I pulled a dead adult screech owl off a barbed wire fence in a HMU last week that I saw while driving by.

    We decided last night to occasionally feed live mice and to monitor that. I have hacked Peregrine chicks (eons ago) and know how not to habituate raptors to us. So no worries there.

    Please let me know your experience on this.

    Sincerely, Laurie

  2. Hi laurie, a lot depends on the weather/temp…if the young don’t need the mom for warmth then at times the male hands off food out side of the box for her to bring it in. It seems the best way to tell if they are getting enough food is growth. As males can be quite secretive. Although he should roost fairly close to the nest so if there are any evergreens or good leaved out trees you may want to quietly look around (also for pellets/whitewash). They may use the same few roost around the nest site redundantly so once found, if un-disturbed he should use it again. another suggestion is to watch in the yard at dusk, see if you can see them…In the spring with abundant ‘small’ food items, moths, worms there can be lots of quick activity. The mom doesn’t have to break the prey up into bite size pieces, just let the owlets swallow, and back for more..
    finally if you haven’t contacted Chris Johnson (texas eastern screech owls see ‘links’ section at right) you may want to. He as had to intercede numerous times with owlets health issues. Incase something is wrong he has far more experience than I do.
    Hope this helps a bit.
    Scott

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