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backyard barred owls

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  • backyard barred owls

    Click image for larger version  Name:	2019 twins.JPG Views:	0 Size:	147.0 KB ID:	13272Click image for larger version  Name:	IMGP3921.JPG Views:	0 Size:	260.4 KB ID:	13273Click image for larger version  Name:	IMGP3917.JPG Views:	0 Size:	241.8 KB ID:	13274 for the 5 or 6 of us that still visit this site in the summer, I thought I would share my owls with you. I put up an owl nesting box in the back yard three years ago, and have had barred owls use it all three years. Barred owls mate for life, and the male will bring food too the nesting female while she is on the eggs. For the first 5 weeks, about all you see is the female in the box, with the male coming by a couple times a day with a meal. This last week is when all the boredom starts too change, as the young hatch, and get big enough too keep themselves warm, thus freeing up the female too help in the hunting. Both adults will bring food too the young, but often I still see the male handing off prey too the female, and then she feeds the young. Female is about 40% bigger than the male, so you can tell them apart if you see them often.

    With the female out of the way, I can now get a look at the young birds, and see that I have two of them. I have had 2 all three years, but they can have up too 5 in a clutch.

    They should leave the box in about another two weeks. They still won't be able to fly then, and the adults keep feeding them for several months. The whole family often hunts in the back yard where I can see them, its pretty good entertainment. I have included a couple pics too show my view out the back door.
    You can put water in corn and hunt over it legally, but you can't put corn in water and hunt over it legally.

  • #2
    Kansasgoose,

    Pretty cool, I'm sure they keep the mouse population down. If I remember right, I know you posted some pictures last year. I thought you said they preyed on frogs or toads of some sort??? Maybe I'm wrong and you can correct me. Anyway, can you tell what the preferred meal is this year?

    Qac

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    • Kansasgoose
      Kansasgoose commented
      Editing a comment
      in the past its been frogs. I have a small, brown species that inhabits my lawn they seem too love. This year, with all the rain, I have seen them hunting earthworms mostly. I have those monster ones that are about a foot long and I have seen them catching them for several weeks. I also have leopard frogs and bullfrogs which I'm sure they eat as well. While mowing the lawn last weekend, I witnessed one catch a mouse and take it too the box, but its rare I see them with a mouse. They probably catch more rodents at night is why. I have also found pellets with mole feet in them. The Cornell university has an "owl cam" in their box, and I have seen small birds, fish, crayfish, small rabbits, small squirrels, etc in their box. For whatever reason, my birds do not hunt my squirrels. I have seen many times when a squirrel is under the owl, and they do not attack.

      during daylight anyway, frogs and earthworms are my owls primary target, at least while in my yard where I can see them often.

  • #3
    That's really neat Kansasgoose. I've had a breeding pair out behind the house for years. Love the sound of them and often times they will sit not too far away on top of my barn. Breeding season usually yields a lot of sound at night with open Windows which I love to listen to. I will see them when I go out back several times taking off. One year there was a young one that sat on the backside of my shop on top of the stove chimney. I knew he was back there and I took my daughter out to the shop which was on The blind side of him and we went very quietly through the shop out the back door and then just carefully slid out from under the roof on the back lean-to where the furnace is and was able to watch him from about 15 feet away. That was super cool and was very special to have my daughter witness that. I never really thought about putting a box up so I believe you've inspired me to give it a go with some scrap lumber I have and I may try putting up a couple of boxes

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    • Kansasgoose
      Kansasgoose commented
      Editing a comment
      I would encourage you too put up a box, but probably just one. Owls need a full acre of land for a home range, so if you put up two boxes, make sure there is enough room between them. Owls seem too tolerate people pretty well, but if you can get it back out of the yard some, it will help. I would put the box where you can see it from inside the house if possible.

      I like your baby owl story. I will tell you this, I walk up too my owls a lot. A box lets them "get too know" you, and the owlets grow up with you in their lives from day one, so they are pretty photogenic. You have until about January 1 too get you box built and up, and it should produce next year. good luck.

  • #4
    That is so cool James, and you saw them actually catch a mouse that is awesome. They are very interesting looking owls. Thanks for posting this up.
    .

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    • Kansasgoose
      Kansasgoose commented
      Editing a comment
      The mouse is pretty rare too see, but I see them catch worms and frogs pretty much daily.

      Last year I had a pretty serious mole problem. I started trapping them and was successful at it. I would then keep the fresh dead moles and toss them off my deck towards the young owls (after they had left the box) in the evenings. They quickly picked them up and ate them.

  • #5
    Owlets update:

    The little ones are at the next stage in life. They are not leaving the box, and probably won't for another 6-9 days, but they are getting more bold. They will sit in the hole off and on now, and will soon venture out too the rail on the outside of the box. That is the sole purpose of the rail on the outside, so I can see them better. If you are building a box, it is totally unnecessary too have the rail on it. But I find it does offer a few more chances too see both the adult and young birds.

    I walked right up too the box too take these pictures. No fear from the little ones.

    I use this ladder too get a better look inside the box at the small owlets, and the adults don't seem too mind it being down there in front of the box... (last pic) (male adult) Click image for larger version

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    You can put water in corn and hunt over it legally, but you can't put corn in water and hunt over it legally.

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    • JRS
      JRS commented
      Editing a comment
      Great shots!

  • #6
    We found this little guy floating around on a log pile while we were out treasure hunting. I assume he tried to fly but was not quite ready. Mom was nowhere to be found? Hope he made it back to dry ground.

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    • #7
      Pretty cool hobby you have going there James!

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      • #8
        Click image for larger version  Name:	IMG_9087.JPG Views:	0 Size:	307.3 KB ID:	13342 It seems a little early, but my owlets left the nest box. I did manage too see one walking across the ground, and then walking up a tree. I assume both of them are fine, but I only found one this morning after the storm last night. They should stay pretty close for the next two months as the parents keep feeding them.
        This is mom and one baby.
        You can put water in corn and hunt over it legally, but you can't put corn in water and hunt over it legally.

        Comment


        • #9
          I am enjoying this very much. Thanks for sharing it and keep the updates coming.

          Qac

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          • Kansasgoose
            Kansasgoose commented
            Editing a comment
            Thank you. I normally get a picture of the owlets on the box rail, but not this year. They were a little behind schedule this year, so maybe they skipped that step too catch up??? And granted, Im not home everyday either too see them.

            I noticed the tadpoles in the pond have legs now, should have a new crop of little frog for them too eat just in time.

          • Qac
            Qac commented
            Editing a comment
            Mmmmmm I like frog legs. As a kid we used to hunt our ponds all the time for decent sized bull frogs. I like mine battered and deep fried though.

            Qac

        • #10
          Not much too report, other than I still here the owls in the timber. They are still staying at the neighbors
          I did climb up and take the roof off (it was failing) and clean out the nesting material. The first year I found an unhatched egg and some bones, but this year was nothing. I would guess since it rained every other day this spring, they ate more worms than anything, and they digest pretty well.

          Thought I would include a past years picture. This is an immature bird holding a mole. I had trapped the mole and tossed it out in the yard under the owl that was in the tree. It dropped right down and picked it up and ate it.
          Click image for larger version

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          You can put water in corn and hunt over it legally, but you can't put corn in water and hunt over it legally.

          Comment


          • #11
            That is very interesting James.. Thanks for the pics and story.
            .

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            • #12
              That is a fascinating story. Cool the way they come back each year. Incredible pictures. Seeing pics/stories like that really has me wishing I lived on a piece of rural land vs living in the small town I do live in.
              Keep the pics coming please.
              Jeff

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              • #13
                This is one of the owls fledging this year. It dropped out of the box, down too the ground. walked on the ground some, and failed too climb the first tree. It went too a second tree and made it up. This is all very normal. They can't fly at all when they leave the box. They have huge feet when young, and they climb well. The parents continue too feed them, just like when they were still in the box, but they are somewhat mobile. As they keep getting stronger, they get more mobile and will fly. Mine don't move very much, about 50 yards from the box. The young call almost non-stop at this stage when its twilight. They are very approachable, and mostly just look down at me. Both parents feed at this point.

                The adult in this video is the larger female.

                https://youtu.be/oPv2J0c-ZuE

                at the very beginning, you can see the nest box too the right side of the screen, so you can see how far it made it then it left the box.
                Last edited by Kansasgoose; 06-06-2019, 08:57 PM.
                You can put water in corn and hunt over it legally, but you can't put corn in water and hunt over it legally.

                Comment


                • Cornstalks
                  Cornstalks commented
                  Editing a comment
                  That is an amazing video! Never knew that young owls would climb back up the tree and you can see how that would help them get stronger as they try out their wings. Quite a work out. The interaction between the two as they looked at each other was neat to see. Thanks for sharing that. What a learning experience!

              • #14
                Great video Kansasgoose. Your lucky to have them and to be able to watch them grow up. Not many people get that opportunity and fewer would recognize it even if the birds were near by. Thanks for allowing us to share it with you. Mother Nature is amazing and you never know what you might see. This is a great example.

                Qac

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                • #15
                  Awesome video. Thanks for sharing it.
                  Jeff

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