Spring Nesting

The owl that showed up in the fall stayed through the winter and laid eggs in the spring.  She was good at keeping the eggs out of camera range, so I couldn't really see what was happening.  Eventually I could hear the peeping of an owlet.  The male came by to provide food, but was not very active in doing so, and after a few weeks became very irregular with his provisions. 

Meanwhile, the owlet was not moving enough to get into camera range. What was going on?

All I can say is that one morning the owlet finally moved into camera range, stared into the camera and promptly fell over and died.   In true owl fashion, the resident owl promptly ate the available food.

I think the owlet simply did not get enough food.  Looking back, I think the parent owls were inexperienced.  They were not good food providers.

It was another really hard, shocking view of life in the box, and enough for me to resolve that it wouldn't happen again.  I made a promise to myself that any resident owl would get supplemental food while nesting.

Fall in the Jollyville Screech Owl House

Ms. Owl spends most of her day resting or sleeping on the floor of the box.  She likes to sit on the perch when the sun shines through the entry.  She sits in the doorway in the early morning and evening to watch as the light changes.  See the “Quick Breakfast” video and watch her spy a bite to eat, fly out, grab it and return. She gobbles down the last bite as she lands on the box floor. 

Squirrel peeks in.
You might catch visitors – see the “Curious Squirrel” video of Ms. Owl’s reaction when a squirrel peeks in. I’ve also seen a red-headed woodpecker, a blue jay and a very young mockingbird in the doorway. Ms. Owl didn’t seem to care about them, but they all fled as soon as they saw her. Listen for the calls of blue jays and mockingbirds and watch them gather around her box and complain about her.
Red-Headed Woodpecker
Blue Jay

Dropping in with the 3rd mouse.
 Two mice on the floor.

Last night Ms. Owl brought home four mice in about 3 and one-half hours! It was amazing to watch.  I'm working on a video to show off her hunting prowess that I'll post in a day or two.         I have never seen her bring home more than one in a night. She brings rodents home regularly and it takes her two days to consume one.  So she is well stocked for now. 

Three mice on the floor

It is a bit graphic to watch her eat, but very interesting.  There will be many opportunities to see that over the next few days.  She generally eats for ten to twenty minutes at a time spread throughout the day or at night when she might come home to eat.  She made eight meals out of the last mouse, over nearly 48 hours.

Ms. Owl was home by September 1, long before I was ready for her.

During the summer I adjusted the cameras to get better views.  That’s tricky – I’m on the ground with the box, trying to figure out what I will see when the box is raised back in place 20 feet in the air. Or I’m using a plush toy stand-in bird to estimate what I’ll see inside the box.

I still have trouble with my live stream to YouTube going down intermittently, and I can’t figure out why.   I’ve improved it a bit, but usually once or twice a day it will drop off line.  So if you check the live stream and it is down, I will get it back up soon.  I must be missing something about the encoding process.

I also wish you could see it as clearly as I do.  But it loses some clarity getting from the original view to YouTube. 

By the way, YouTube Analytics indicate that the owl has received visitors from ninety-four countries since the channel started last spring.  I’m happy to know others find her as interesting as I do.

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