Sunday, April 26, 2009

Owl Update

An update on our resident Eastern Screech Owl - he seems to have moved on to the neighbors yard. I have to say this has made me a bit blue, but I believe he's chosen a mate and nest in the next yard, which would be a good thing. Because of this he is no longer roosting in our yard, but likely just a few feet from the nest. I've watched the owl house that we placed in our back yard closely at dusk, and later in the evening for a few weeks now. I got excited last week after seeing shavings on the grass below the house (we placed wood shavings in the bottom of the house for nesting material). I assumed that because the shavings were in the grass, that the owl had taken up residence. However, seeing no activity at all I'm pretty sure that the house wasn't chosen this mating season. Although I'm discouraged, I have hope that it will still be used, perhaps next year.

The reason I believe that a nest has been chosen in the next yard is the regular calling from a tree in the evenings after dark. Several times in the last couple of weeks I've sat in the back yard late at night listening to an Eastern Screech Owl calling with the A-Song. It seems to stay in one spot - a tree in the next yard - without moving. Tonight it was almost an hour that I sat and listened. The owl never moved from the spot, and called every minute or two. It would make sense that a female is calling from the nest. Probably to her mate asking him to hurry up and bring back some dinner. I've never witnessed our Mr. Spock calling from one place for so long. He would usually go from limb to limb calling no more than 2 or 3 times from the same spot. Last Friday night (Sat morning early) about 1am I sat out while one of the owls called from our Cypress and Pine trees, and even landed in the grass about 10 feet in front of me to pick something up. So Spock seems to still frequent our yard, just not roosting during the day. I should also mention that I'm still finding pellets in the yard - roughly 1 inch grey ovals composed of fur, feathers, bones, and other things that the owl doesn't digest. A sure sign that they are still spending some time in our yard.

I suppose my having shared all of this qualifies me as an owl geek. How else would you explain my sitting for hours in the dark listening to them talk, and picking up regurgitated owl pellets to examine. Hey, I'm even considering getting some night vision goggles for after dark watching.

**Disclaimer: I'm assuming that our owl - Mr. Spock - is a "he". It's difficult to tell the female from the male (at least for me). So for now, until I learn otherwise, our owl will be Mr. Spock**

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