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  • backyard owls

    As some of you know, I have a Barred Owl nesting box in the back yard here and it is again home to some owls. This year she started sitting on eggs on March 7h. I believe it was March 3 last year. The original tree died two years ago, and this last fall the tree actually broke in half and fell over. I had been up in that tree replacing the nesting material in the box just a week before the storm came that took it down. With the tree, and box on the ground, I took the time to repair what was damaged on the box, and put it back in the next largest tree in that same area. It appears the owls did not mind moving. I would assume I have two live chicks at this point, for its been more than 30 days of mother owl sitting in the box. I normally have 2 chicks that come out of the box, but I have not seen them yet. They start life as little white fluff balls that can't do much of anything. They change over to gray when they can self regulate their body temperature, and that's then the mother will leave the nest, and start helping the male hunt for food. Once that happens, they grow pretty fast, and will be out of the box in about 2 weeks.

    This years mother.....
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  • #2
    Great to see them again. Always enjoy your photos and progress reports. Thanks for sharing.

    Qac

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    • #3
      Very cool, I need to build one of those. I think we have a nest in the back pretty close. One hoots from a certain spot all the time and the other one flies around. I've called him over a few times recently. Very neat birds.

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      • Kansasgoose
        Kansasgoose commented
        Editing a comment
        what I see here is the male often calls to the female in the box, especially when he has some food to give her. I see the male deliver food directly to the box, but I have also seen her perk right up, and fly out to meet him. They don't talk a lot, but they do seem to talk several times a day and night to each other.

    • #4
      Home watching my owls today. I saw a pair of crows fly down my creek early this morning. I then saw my mother owl sitting with her face in the hole, looking out. That is a little uncommon, so I stepped outside and heard the crows down near the box making noise. I'm sure most everyone has seen or heard a mob of crows harassing owls before, so I quickly stepped back inside and grabbed my .22 rifle I keep by the back door. I have a clear shot down to the box from my back deck, which is the point so I can see them, and I thought I would assist in the defense of the box. Pretty quick, one of the crows flies into view to a tree next to the box. Before I can even raise the .22, the father owl flies over and scares off both crows. I have seen crows chase owls many times, but this was the first time I had ever seen an owl chase a crow. I think my mother owl picked a very good mate.

      I put the .22 away and had my binoculars out to watch for anything else that may be going on and a while later I see a bluebird land on the rail of my owl box. They are also cavity nesting birds, and I thought the hole was surly too big for this little bird to want to go in, but it did. I have never seen a bluebird fly backwards before, but it was pretty funning to see that bird backing out of the owl box as fast as it could. I was watching with the binoculars, but never saw the mother owl even look out, I don't imagine the bluebird was seen as a threat.

      Lastly, its raining today, which in April really brings the earthworms to the surface. I saw the father owl fly down and catch a worm. I thought I had gotten the camera in time, but it gulped it down before I could snap the picture. I see my owls catching worms pretty often when the conditions are right. My yard has those big foot long earthworms.

      Click image for larger version  Name:	ground owl.JPG Views:	0 Size:	983.4 KB ID:	18765

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      • #5
        Cool pics James!

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        • #6
          Came across this one while out fishing yesterday. Didn’t want to look at me but if I gave him a good lip squeak he’d turn his head and look.
          Attached Files

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          • #7
            Very cool James, I bet they keep the rodent #s down....
            .

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            • #8
              Update: Saw the very top of one young owls head. They are still too small to really see, but they are obviously getting bigger for the mother is now starting to sit outside the box. This morning I also saw both parents catching food and both were bring it back to the box, which is also a sure sign that the young birds are getting bigger. I would guess another week and I will be able to see the young owlets and will get some pictures of them. This is the busy time of year, now that both parents will be hunting rather than just the male. It makes for a lot of sightings in the backyard.

              Someone asked before about the rail in the front of the box. No, it is not necessary but it allows for better sightings like this one.

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              • #9
                At least two in there. Two is the normal clutch size, for me anyway. They are just big enough to see out the hole. Next week I should be able to see their whole face looking out.

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                • #10
                  I caught mom feeding the kids. I think it was a mouse.

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                  • #11
                    Nice pics James!

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                    • #12
                      This one is for you Qac. You mentioned once that "no where else has owls". Or at least something to that effect. Rather than make a whole new thread, I thought I would just add to this one.

                      This time of year, I normally see a drop in owl activity. They young birds start out on their own and adults go back to just being owls and not parents. Not sure why they leave my yard, but they often move over to the neighbors during the fall of the year. Recently I have had an owl in my yard everyday. Now I seem to have 2 owls, and they both appear to be male. Male and female barred owls are different sizes, so this should not be a mated pair. My owl box only produced one bird this year, so this is not my pair of young either. I cut this tree down to this for the purpose of being able to see my owls better. They have taken to it, and I see them on this stump often.
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                      • #13
                        Thanks kansasgoose, great to see the owls again. I was wondering about them. I am pretty sure I have an owl working on my rabbit population around the house right now. Heard the death cry of a rabbit early (3:15 ish) this morning. I am guessing Mr Owl had an early breakfast. Now if I could get them to get the moles digging up my yard that would be a big win. Thanks for sharing, especially such a great picture.

                        Qac

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                        • #14
                          They land where I can see them well sometimes
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                          • #15
                            its 2022... maybe they are a pair.

                            Great pics!

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