Thursday, February 25, 2010

Owl Sighting

There was a screech owl in a brooding posture on the floor of my box a few hours ago. A male would be unlikely to adopt that posture, in my experience, so I assume the owl was a female whose mate must have recently claimed the nest box, and talked her into trying it on for size. (I heard a male in my back yard calling quite persistently one night last week.) She's gone now, but this is an encouraging sign as far as nesting in the nest box this year is concerned.

On the other hand, I saw at least one similarly encouraging visit last year, and nothing came of it, so don't anybody get their hopes up.


  1. Alison in Indiana10:46 AM CST

    We will try to be patient. But your site concept, updates and pictures are so engaging, it is hard not to be hopeful that we shall be able to enjoy them again after a hiatus of two years...

  2. Susan G.4:02 PM CST

    Why not get our hopes up? When owls show up we can read great stories that you right. Crossing fingers and toes.

  3. My hopes are UP!!!!

    I have a question for you. We have a box in our yard and have had a resident the past 3 winters/springs, but we've never seen any babies emerge. The first year I was sure there were young in the box because the adult rarely left and I often saw another adult hanging out in a nearby tree. But like I said--I never saw any babies. I did see a (gulp) 5-6 foot rat snake in a neighboring tree that spring, so maybe there were babies and they turned into dinner.

    Anyway. . .

    One day last week I noticed there were two owls in the box. Is it possible they were mating? Please say yes! I got so excited about seeing the two of them that I promptly installed a second box in a tree across the yard. As far as I know, nobody has taken up residency there yet.

  4. "One day last week I noticed there were two owls in the box. Is it possible they were mating? Please say yes!"

    OK. "Yes." ;-)

    Actually, however, my limited observations of screech owl copulation indicate that it occurs outside of nest cavities – presumably it's too cramped inside. When it comes to nesting, however, I have seen a mated male and female share a nest cavity during the first day or two of nesting. After that, however, the nest cavity is pretty much the exclusive province of the female. The male roosts outside, somewhere nearby (if at all possible), where he can keep an eye on the nest site, and guard it. Of course, if you have two nest boxes whose entrances provide good views of each other, you might find your female nesting in one while the male roosts in the other and does his guard duty from there.

    In my case, my bird feeder is sufficiently near the owls' nest box that the male can't roost nearby and perform his guard duty, because he'd inevitably be discovered by the high concentration of song birds attracted by the feeder, and would be mobbed. So, I have no idea where my male(s) have roosted in previous years, but the roosts must have been somewhere relatively distant from the nest. Obviously, that is suboptimal, but that's my situation.

  5. The two boxes have a great view of one another--so we'll see what happens.

    I'll keep you posted.

    For the record, when my husband was installing the second box at my whim this weekend, I suggested we put a camera in it and he smirked and proceeded to ignore me.