Squirrel Resistant

At Least 2 Owlets

Site 3.

Unfortunately the camera cable broke during one of the winter storms, so we have to rely on external sightings.  But at least we have a minimum of 2 owlets here.  Shot yesterday at late dusk…

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Back to the Good.

Site 3.

Looks like there are nesting owls here.  It has been tough to confirm this as the box had been very quiet through out March and April, and observations were sporadic. However,  it seems the young owlets are growing and the weather warming, which affords the mom some breaks to rest in the entrance.  I am pretty sure I heard the owlets, when the mom tucks back down to them as well.  She seems to be skittish/protective now that she is a mom, so she tucks back in quickly if observed too much.

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Not Always Good News

Site 9

Unfortunately after a winter of activity, this site has gone quiet.  Got this note from the owner at the end of March, and still no owls as of today:

We have not seen the red owl for almost 2 weeks. He was calling even in the
daytime after the gray female failed to return to the box 2 weeks ago and
then the red male was in the box. The gray female vanished and then it
appeared that the male was searching for her? I have an SD card in the
camera and I only saw him on the recordings. I guess we will never know what
happened to the female but the poor male called day and night. I am still
holding out hope that another owl will occupy the box as our owlets last
year did not hatch until May and fledged in June!

Site 6 Update: Confirmed Pair

Site 6:

Finally got a better picture, but it was after I got a phone through binocular (digi-binned) photo sent to me of a gray phase screech owl in the circle entrance box. This of course piqued my curiosity, in the last post there appeared to be a red phase in the circle entrance box…Anyway, I stopped by but there was nothing in the circle entrance…and here-in lies the benefit of ‘pairing’ boxes for screech owls…. There is a slot entrance box that was installed a year afterward(7.5 years ago) about 50-60 feet away. Sure enough the red phased owl was in the entrance. The owners had seen the gray phase in the circle entrance this morning. Somewhat interestingly, a few years after the slot box was installed and with no screech owl activity at all, the owners built a ‘luxury’ tree house utilizing 4 trees, one of which the slot box is attached too, as you can see in the photo. It will be interesting to see if this(kids in a tree house) has an effect on box choice?
digi-binned gray phase in circle entrance
site6 grey

red phase in slot box with tree house behind it.
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Spreading the Resistance: Two-fer

First comes in from Philadelphia PA.

I have a guest in my owl box I got from you a few years ago:…I’m not sure if it’s new or has been there a while. I recently lost a hemlock tree in my yard in a storm, but with the tree gone, I now have a clear view of the owl box from my kitchen window, which I didn’t before.

We’ve been hearing screech owls at night in the neighborhood on and off the better part of a year, including in the vicinity of my owl nesting box but hadn’t identified the nesting location before.owlPA

The next one is from right here in eastern MA:

Hi there! We hung the owl box in September 2015… and, yesterday we finally had a visitor!!! Yay! It just arrived Sunday. I’ll keep you updated. Last night we heard him monotonally calling. It was delightful!!
owlfrom ma

Just want to thank you both for the updates and congratulations!!! We have been having a lot of late season storms here in the Northeast, so I wonder if some old standby natural screech hollow trees/branches have blown down with some resultant screech owl movement? hopefully more late season new resident owls will take up liking to empty boxes!

It Only Took 8.5 Years

Site 6

WOW! Nice to have this site active with at least one screech owl. According to my (b)log book this box went up Sept 2009. In fact it is one of the early prototypes that reclaimed and integrated red cedar on the front panel from a normal style box into the SQR type box.   A second box was added in the fall 2010 (slot).  When I first put these up I though it was fairly ideal habitat and that it wouldn’t take long. BUT…. there has been Great Horned Owls near by since the boxes went up and probably played a roll in the absence of Screech Owls at this site.  In fact I heard 2 Great Horned Owls (I think they were competing males, not a male female duet) with in a 1/4 mile of this site earlier in the winter.  Hopefully this is far enough away for a pair of Screech Owls to set up a territory.  Mean while, a screech owl was heard here in the early fall 2017, but never seen in a box until a few days ago. On Feb 26th 2018,  I thought I saw something in the entrance, but there wasn’t enough light to really confirm it, and I didn’t have a camera either.  I told the owners to keep an eye out but after a few days of nothing I was beginning to think I was just seeing or imagining things.  Then today 3/3/2018 my wife went by and confirmed there was an owl in the box.  I was only able to get the documentation photo at dusk in low light, as the owl seems very skittish.  I don’t fully trust the colors in low light photos but it does appear to be red phase.  Hopefully a better picture to come, as this was low shutter speed, hand held through a bay window.

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Spreading the Resistance: TX again.

In Texas it seems like screech owls are quite abundant.  Got a nice letter last May, so it took me awhile to give it the attention it deserved. Anyway here is the note plus an awesome photo…(photo courtesy and copyright M. Simon, used with permission)

I purchased one of your owl houses for the 2016 season. We had 2 babies then, this year we had FIVE! The slot wasn’t big enough to show all of them, but another is back there. The babies only show up for a few days and then are gone. We enjoy watching them. And all have survived so far.txowl

Thank you very much for the picture!!!

Spreading the Resistance:the Kestrel Kind

Thrilled to say that an SQR box (circle entrance) has been successfully used and nested in by American Kestrels! They fledged 3 young this year. It all started back in 2013 someone backed out of a box order, I offered up the box to Phil Brown our Essex County Kestrel Trail operator (and of https://nebirdsplus.com ) he happily found a perfect spot for the box to integrate it into his project and 4 years later….A Kestrel nest! Kestrels are meadow/grassland birds, as such they have been declining in Massachusetts (and new england) so this project and its recent successes are very encouraging! Both of photos courtesy of Phil (used with permission) you can see his full documentation (scroll up or down for different years): https://massbird.org/ecoc/kestrel-nest-box-results/
mark20richey20kestrel20banding2007-12-1720800e

the SQR box in a tree with banding crew
mark20richey20kestrel20banding2007-12-1720800d

Stuck around

Site 3.

The early screech owl visitor to Site 3, has stuck around and has been an almost daily resident in the box since July 28th 2017. That was the earliest box occupancy I have ever recorded, or even heard of. Here is a photo that I got today, It ‘seems’ to be small so I would not be surprised if this is a male owl. Hopefully, he/she will find a mate and this will be confirmed or refuted.
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Same Pair?

Site 9.

From the owner:

Hi Everyone
Owl update! An owl visits now and then but visited again last night (10/31)
owl from the outside that has been her almost everyday! (11/8)
Owl fever!! Both were in the box briefly last evening!(11/16)
site9owl

To me, this would seem to be the same all (both) gray phase pair from last year.Thanks for the updates!!!!