Month: January 2014

Then There was Red

Site 8

A red phase screech owl that is…an update from the owner…

The ‘pale gray’ owl had been seen regularly until the arrival of another owl in early December. I believe this visitor was a gray morph owl, that briefly used the round box and explored the neighborhood for a few days. The red owl first appeared in mid-November. Since its first, brief sighting in our yard, on Dec. 5th, the red owl returned to roost here on an intermittent basis. The ‘pale gray’ owl continued to stay in our box for several days and hasn’t been seen since mid-December. Recently, the red owl has been seen in our yard more frequently, 16 out of 21 days this month. Sometimes I get up before dawn to monitor owl activity in our backyard. In the pre-dawn darkness, I have seen an owl fly into and fly out of the slot box on several occasions. This pattern sometimes includes a visit to the round box. I used to think that owls would stay out hunting all night and they would only return to use the box as a roost from dawn to dusk. I now realize that the box is used when-ever the owl wants to.

These photos were taken yesterday, the focus isn’t crisp but I now have a photo of the red owl. First Image was taken about 4:30pm and the second was taken about ½ hour after sunset. It is a 1+sec. exposure while I held my camera tightly to my telescope on its tripod.

2014-01-20 red owl (6) 2014-01-20 Red Owl (12)a

Thanks again for the excellent update!

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The Deer Tick Connection

Ok I found a Barred today, I first flushed it but then it flew back towards me, choosing to keep and eye on me from a comfortable distance up in a white pine.

This was a place where I still believe has some good Long-Eared potential, but this time I was by myself, without the family. There is enough (area wise) habitat that I still will be checking it occasionally for long-eareds. Last year we flushed a Barred owl in almost the same area. So this could (most likely) be a resident owl(s).

Which brings me to the deer ticks…Back in november we took a family walk here no owls were seen, but we even brought along my Mom for the hiking adventure. It was a pretty standard November day. After a bit of walking along the trails we decided to do a Tick Check…WOW we each had a bunch of deer ticks on our pants. From then on every 5-10 minutes we would stop along the way back, and take off at least a handful of deer ticks from everyone, It really was a nightmarish amount, such as we have never experienced. So it seems this will only be a dead of winter place to walk.

anyway…here is todays barred

P1040454

Double Trouble

Site 1

All I had to do was post that things were fairly normal here, and voila, not so ‘normal’ anymore. So a second barred owl has shown up. I don’t know how long its has been around, but only recently had I notice a ‘new’ roosting spot. Turns out it was not only a new spot, but a ‘new’ owl about 100yards away from the ‘regular’ barred owl. Today was the first time I have seen them at the same time. So this certainly make things interesting, as there is a very good chance these two are paired up. I wonder if they will find a suitable nesting site near by…which would be ‘too?’ close to the screech owl site, or maybe this is just a wintering ground and they will find a better spot come spring.

the regular barred owl in its normal roost
P1040404

the newly documented owl (if I had to guess, this seems smaller=male)
P1040473
1/17/14 Update:
The male spent the day in the box today, the first he had been seen since end of October
P1040422

Fairly Normal

Site 1

Things here seem fairly normal, with the female spending a few days a week in the box. I have not seen the (red phase) male since early season (October) but this is fairly typical as well. The winter barred owl nearby is also around, although the snowy owl sightings in the area have lessened quite a bit as well.

female sunning herself a bit during the ‘January Thaw’
P1040385

Spreading the Resistance!

I am starting a new section/tab to the blog, yep, called spreading the resistance.  So this is an open invitation for those that have got a box from owloasis (etsy) or even if you have built your own type of squirrel resistant box I would love to hear any stories box,owl or squirrel related, photos always helpful but they don’t need to be original size, reduced files are easier to email anyway. I will be posting any stories and photos sent along and keeping them in this section by tags/tabs. I will tend to keep it to first name and state, or just initials and state, I’ll keep it at vague as the ‘you’ would like, if you choose to share.  So if interested email me at owloasis at (replace with @)  yahoo.com.  Please title the email with ‘spreading the resistance’ so I can keep the stories separate from general email.

I’ll start with Clara from Massachusetts, Thank you so much sharing, excellent pictures and Congrats on the owls!!

Just noticed the new member in the box. YIPPY KI YEA. They look like the same pair as last year, as I compare the photos from last season!
The Male came first on Dec 4th and she arrived today the 12. So wonderful.
My husband got me a new camera so for my birthday so having fun recording the arrival.
Thanks for this fun.

First sighting of pair of owls 13 004 First sighting of pair of owls 13 007

Of Mice and Tunnels, (Winter Owl Thoughts)

Last year with the apparent barred owl boom, I had some thoughts as it related to long-eared owls. This is a vastly different season. It seems Snowy Owls had a great breeding year class way up north and they have come down in record numbers. Barred owls are not nearly as prevalent as they were last year, although they are still around just not ‘everywhere’ like last year.

Which brings me to long-eared, in which I recently scored with a long-eared. Alas no photo (no challenge point either) as it was unfortunately flushed as we were inspecting a different tree with wash/pellets, the ol switch-er-ooo. But it was nice to see one again. Later the same day, the family went to another area with decent long-eared potential, as we walked across a small field we noticed it was all crossed about with rodent tunnels through what snow (mostly re-frozen) was left.

One thing I did note last summer is that every fruit and nut tree (esp crab apples/pears) seeem to have a great fruiting season in my area. This may have help the rodent populations. Although It something that is more speculative/anecdotal, as I really don’t have real experience or been noticing field rodent tunnels before now. However, my yard is also crossed up with similar tunnels too. So now it something to look out for.

Second thing, we may be in-store for a ‘tough’ winter. I am writing this during a cold snow storm (20 degrees F )only to get colder (near 0 degrees F) and we live near the moderating effects of the ocean. If this trend continues, and the food supply is booming. It may shape up to be a good year for the other (than snowy) winter type owls (long and short eared, saw whet) as well, and who knows the cold and snow may even force a hawk, boreal or great gray owl down into Massachusetts…well that might be wishful thinking, but I guess I will go on record as not being surprised if the weather patterns remains colder.

Barred owls are still around, but not ‘everywhere’ like last year, (I was alone for this one, so does not count for the challenge)

P1040256

Tunnel close up.
P1040272

Rodent’s tunnel from above.
P1040275

Long Overdue 2013 Wrap up

This should have been done 4-5 months ago…good to get caught up.
If 2012 was a’down’ year, This year was a really down years compared to previous.
As Site 1 failed to fledge 2 owlets that died in box.

Site 1
Massachusetts
Screech Owls,
Male=red phased
Female=gray phased
First Egg: begining of march
# of Eggs……………..at least 2
First Hatch: ?
# Hatched…………….2
Fledged ……………….0 (both owlets died in box)

Site 2
Massachusetts
No screech owls…It seems a Pair of Barred Owl have moved in near by as they were heard regularly through the spring, summer and fall, even in the day. Oh and the leucistic red-tailed hawk was last seen 12/29/2013.

Site 3
Massachusetts
Screech Owls,Lost the red phased female (seen october 2012), replaced by a gray phase female
Male=gray phased (confirmed 2011)
Female=gray phased (new for 2013 nesting)
First Egg: end of march/early april
# of Eggs ………….3
# Hatched………… 3
Fledged……………. 3
(a day or 2 after June 2, 2013)

Site 4

Massachusetts
No screech owls

Site 5
Maryland may not have nested for 2013
Screech Owls,
Male= ?
Female=red phased
First Egg ???
# of Eggs…………. ??
First Hatch ???
# Hatched ………… ??
Fledged …………….??

Site 6
Massachusetts
No screech owls, great horned owl(s) still heard occ.

Site 7
Massachusetts
no screech owls

Site 8
Massachusetts
Screech Owls, at least 2,
did not nest at site 8, but nested near by with 4 owlets observed to have fledge!
Male= Gray phased (browner)
Female=Gray phased

Site 9
Massachusetts
Owners moved, site to be relocated: no screech owls seen, barred owls heard frequently.

2013 Totals:
screech owl eggs ……5 +
screech owl fledged…..3 + 4 fledged near (but off) site 8