Thursday, May 12, 2011

All Branchers (and Owlets) Safe and Sound

All three branchers were sighted at the same time in the same tree (the tree in which I deposited owlet/brancher no. 5 after it left the nest on the 8th). The brancher that appeared largest had its own perch, while the other two (presumably owlets 1 and 2, who left the nest together on the 10th) were perched together on another limb. Those two had to cross perhaps 75 feet of "open" space (the ground is littered with limbs fallen from the dead nest box tree) to get from the nest box tree to the tree they were in, so everyone, whether or not they’re skilled distance fliers yet, is getting around with apparent ease. They certainly did a good job of being somewhere else everytime I managed to get my light and camera pointed at where they had been. So, the entire family is accounted for and is doing well. I always worry about them, even as I assume they're doing fine, so this confirmation is a welcome relief.

The best of the few brancher photos I managed to take. I believe this is owlet/brancher no. 5.
Understandably, he/she didn't appreciate my bright light and kept moving to different limbs
until vanishing into the depths of the canopy.

While I was out searching for, and ultimately photographing, the branchers (well, trying to photograph the branchers), I had three thawed mice in my pocket, with the idea that I’d inevitably end-up with at least one of the adults watching me (rather than just attacking me), and could then deposit the mice in some convenient place for it to pick-up after I was gone. It took a surprisingly long time to be certain I was being watched carefully enough for the owl to realize what I was carrying (to pay attention to the rodent dangling from my hand, rather than just perceiving me as one big threat) and to note where I deposited the mice, but I eventually convinced myself that those criteria were met, and left the mice on top of a fence beneath the tree in which the branchers are roosting. I was probably worrying needlessly—if owls are anything, they’re first rate observers—but I wanted to be as sure as possible that the mice would get to where they were needed.

My scheme must have worked, because around 7 AM one of the adults appeared in the nest box. Upon hearing that, I arrived at my TV (which is pretty much continuously tuned to the “owl channel” these days) in time to see a mouse tail disappearing into a satisfied looking owlet.

A check around noon revealed all three mice were still where I'd left them. I'm not sure why they're being ignored.


  1. Well, they got some mouse, if not yours. Maybe they were saving them for a time of scarcity.
    Again many thanks for the time and trouble you take to include us in the owls' adventures each season.

  2. Did you take your screech owl website down? I get 404 messages when I surf by.

  3. The owl site, along with several of my other sites, is temporarily down. It will return in the near future, though precisely when, I don't know. At some point, I'll explain what's been going on, but this isn't the right time. The good news is that one consequence of what's been happening is that the screech owl cam' should gain a major new feature next year.

  4. Thank-you. I will keep coming to Partial Perspective Vortex and trust that you will let us know when your other creations are available to the world at large.