Saturday, February 28, 2009

More Owl Activity

Shortly after sundown on Saturday there was a lot of owl activity at the nest box. Male, female, male & female all in the box at various times over a period of about 30 minutes. That's another good sign that nesting will take place in the box this year.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Picking on Perfectly Nice Squirrels

One part I hate about maintaining the owl nest box cam' is picking on squirrels, critters of which I'm quite fond. Unfortunately, one moved into the nest box yesterday night, though I noticed too late to do anything about that. Tonight, there were two squirrels curled-up in the box, but this time I noticed early enough to go through the drill of unrolling all the cables, bringing down the nest box, opening it up, evicting the squirrels, closing it up, hoisting the box back into its mount in the tree, and rolling up and stowing all of the cables.

No fun for me, or the squirrels.

On the plus side, it did give me a chance to do an extra cleaning of the interior, including a complete replacement of the bedding materials. The metaphorical ball is once again in the owls' court.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Nest Site Preparation in the Owl Box

By chance, I tuned to the owl nest box channel on my TV this morning around 1:20 AM, and noticed a screech owl's head in the entryway. The owl spent a long time there, staring at various things, then jumped onto the perch inside the box. From there the owl did a lot more staring at things, and finally hopped down to the floor of the box. There, the owl began shoving and kicking the bedding material toward the sides of the box, in order to create a depression in the middle. Once that was done, the owl returned to the entryway, and exited several minutes later. The whole visit probably lasted 20-30 minutes.

This screech owl was obviously a female making preparations for egg laying (creating that depression in the bedding is as close as screech owls come to nest building). So, I don't know when nesting will begin, but it looks very likely that there will be nesting in the box this year.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Swaying in the Wind

I'm currently in my office on the 25th floor of the U.T. Austin Tower and a thunderstorm is blowing through Austin. According to NOAA the wind is 25-35 MPH, gusting to 50 MPH. The building has begun to oscillate very slowly. Pictures hanging on my wall are moving back and forth, a christmas ornament hanging above my desk is moving in small circles, and the panes of glass in the window appear to be flexing in and out. I've been in the Tower for years, but have never felt it move until now. Wild.