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As the Winter Turns

Site 9

Sorry for being negligent on this site, but there has been quite a bit of drama here. So I will try to catch everyone up to this seasons story here. All quotes are from the owner.

Back on November 4th 2016.

Hi Everyone
THIS OWL IS MUCH DARKER AND HAS A RED HUE TO HER- VERY SCARED TOO- SO FAR 2
DIFFERENT OWLS IN THE LAST FEW DAYS– we think? It is hard to tell LOLSONY DSC

This owl was regular through november, unfortunately in early Dec. 2016 a bit of a disturbance:

Hi ,
We had a bit of drama here as the camera was hanging down in the box on Monday somehow was knocked off the bracket. I climbed up and tried to use a mirror to see if the owl could be in there but I couldn’t see anything! So I unplugged the camera and I tried to Unscrew the bracket but I could get leverage so I carefully opened the front and then I realized the owl was sleeping in the front corner. I quickly and quietly closed the front and we left until we watched her fly out at night and then put a new bracket up and extended the threads on the screws so it would fall down again. She hasn’t been back since – she does miss 4 or 5 days here and there but I am worried.

It wasn’t until January, that another different owl returned, first seen at during the night visiting via a box camera:

We have a male red owl that came to the box at 2:20 am and stayed! I played the videos of the owl songs I have last night for 20 minutes! Maybe it worked ! It is a brilliant red male and spectacular looking! I was able to get a couple of pictures from outside too but I am no sure of the quality because I didn’t want to take a chance to scare him away

Happy MLK Day

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Then on Jan 30th.

Looks like the gray owl is back and maybe they will mate! We were happy just having one red owl in the box! Now there is a lot of activity tonight! Exciting times are here!

But by Feb. 28.

Hi Everyone
Here is the latest update on the owls. It appears that something must have
happened to the red female . The gray male comes every evening and calls for
its mate (or someone new). The gray owl comes every night and scratches up
the nesting material and then calls for about a 1/2 hour. I thought I heard
an owl answer but mostly I hear no response. We are hoping that someone else
will come and join the poor little lonely gray male. Mating season is just
beginning so maybe he can lure another female in the box. He is adorable
and covers himself with shavings.

Which brings us to the current status:

An owl came to the box last night and is in there this morning!  There has been a lot of night time activity in the box with a gray male visiting and calling for hours. We also hear so many owls vocalizing all around our property! I am going to review the SD card as it is full of a visits from last night and will update everyone. We are hoping the sad male found someone new!

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Phew, happy to get caught up here–thank you for all the updates, and staying tuned!

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More Returns

Site 9

Unfortunately last year this site’s nesting attempt failed, but this is a fresh season, so optimism returns. And now not only is there an in the box camera, but a new external camera too.  From the owner:

Hi ,
A red male appeared this morning and then a darker reddish morph came in and is there now! It appears to possibly be the pair we had before the last immature pair! This pair had 3 owlets fledge! We will keep you updated as we now have an outside camera too!

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Getting Prepared

There is a general thought that last year’s tough and snowy winter was tough on the owl population. Luckily a few sites are still active which means some screech owls survived and hopefully this nesting season will be very productive for screech owls.

Anyway the end of the month (March) is prime nesting season and we have a great update from the owner of Site 9.

Owl Update
The female continues to be in her box every day. We have seen a male in the
box who scratches up the shavings and throws them around and deposited a
large vole. We have not seen them in the box together. This is weekend last
year is when they roosted together- so far we have not seen them together.
She has been vocalizing before she flies but not as much as last year. So we
will just have to wait and see if the same male returns or she finds another
mate?

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Great update, thank you very much!!!

Wrapping up Success, and Distress

Site 9

6/1/2015

From the owner

With all of the rain for the last 24 hours and more on the way- the mother owl returned to the box and was calling! We went out to see if the babies needed help and were in trouble and found 1 ( youngest baby we think) in a lower branch un protected from the rain and in distress! We put the ladder up to the box and then scaled up the little dead tree where the unprotected bay was! We pick it up – dried it off and placed it in the box with mom and they are so happy and the baby has perked up now
. They have been preening and cooing and the little one is safe for now . Searched for 2 hours and we could not find the other 2

stay tuned!

 

 

Got a bunch of photos, plus the observations from the owner, here is the wrap up from site 9

Eggs laid

3/28/15 – 1
3/31/15- 2
4/3/15– 3
4/5/15- 4
4//7/15-5

Hatched
1 egg did not hatch

4/30/15 – 2 egg hatched
5/2/15— 3 and 4
5/3/15- 5 th egg hatched

4th owlet died 5/4

Successful fledging 3 healthy owlets

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3 owlets near fledging

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male with owlet

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mom in tree near box as owlets are close to fledging

 

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First Egg

Site 9

This site has been busy and a bit confusing, as there has been what seems as a switcher-roo with owl couples. Last year the female was a red phase and the male was gray, this year the female is a gray phase and the male is red. There was also a period of time when it seem like the last year’s male was trying to hold on to the hollow, and perhaps this years pair usurped the box for themselves…Anyway I got a note today that the first egg has been laid! (Despite it snowing out!). Thanks you to the owner for all the observations!

From today (3/28/2015)

Hi.we have an egg from our gray brown female. The male brought a.mouse to her and tried to feed her.the red male brought in 3 mice yesterday. Box is full

(photo from 3/20)
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Good news is there seems to be plenty of eats around for the owls, as the snow pack is still around but slowly disappearing

(3/26/2015)

Hi
Our new red male is quite the hunter. He does something unusual as he takes
his prey and brings it out in the slot and hangs out there with it. The owls
we had last year never did this – but he takes it out of the box ( after he
placed it in the box during the evening). Yesterday we had a chipmunk, a
very large rat and a mouse. This morning there was another mouse. I suspect
we will have eggs in a week or two as they are storing up their reserves
now. They have been spending a lot of time together and then they take
breaks but always return to nest together a few times per week SONY DSC

(2/25/2015)

We changed our red.infea red LEDs to non glow.white and now.the owls have different colors.we have a red owl this am.not sure if it is our original female or what. We have the other owl that we thought was a female maybe the morph is the male? The whitish owl is now a red one! See if you can decide on sizes I20150225_121128_resized

Male Returns

Site 9

Update from the owner of site 9

11/24/2014

Our red female owl from last year has been back in the box every night for the last 2 weeks! She has brought in a frog , a rat and a house sparrow. We have installed a bird cam in the box ( Spy on a Bird camera) so we can study the owls behaviors more closely. The gray male ( same one from last year) has been sleeping in the box for 2 nights in the last few days! It seems the pair are taking turns using the box which we hope is a positive sign that they will use our box again and we hopefully will have another successful breeding and fledging.

11/28/2014
The male was hanging out with the snow on his head this am! he and the female are taking turns in the box!

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Mid October, Prime Return Time (in MA)

Site 9

It seems as though mid(ish) October seems to be about the peak of owls returning to hollows (or boxes)in MA. Some may come back earlier…some a little later but if the peak of hurricane season is mid september, I would argue the peak of screech owls taking up hollows in MA would be midish October.
Anyway, an update from the owner:

Our female red owl returned on Sunday morning October 19! We were so happy to have her back in her box. We have installed a bird cam so we can see what is going on in her box. She has been in her box ( except for 1 day) every day and has an established routine already! Today she has a small rodent in her box and we have not seen that happen yet! Last night she flew out and joined up with another owl( her mate or her little owlet from the spring). We are looking forward to documenting their behavior.

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Thanks for the update! and I would most like say that it was her mate that she met up with…Screech owls tend to kick out their young in Late Summer- Fall