April 2018 M T W T F S S « Mar 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30
Wednesday, March 28, 2018
AM; T=71F; overcast; expecting big rain in the afternoon
7am, Ms Owl left the box. Walking out the front door and looking east I could see both owls; one, the male, was hunting from the crepe myrtle outside the neighbor’s front froom window; the female was on a main branch of the computer oak. He flew north to roost, she hung around for amoment, then went back to her box. 7:05am.
8:15am, dove explosion; we hear the Coopers ‘kek-kek-kek’.
PM; very overcast and muggy, as usual before a front.
7:42PM, Owls flew earlier than usual due to dark cloud cover. Mr Owl was roosting in the Computer oak. Both flew through the Gap to the west. Didn’t see much more.
Rain started about midnight, with lots of thunder and lightening.
Tuesday, March 27, 2018
AM T=72F. After a breezy night a dawn cloud deck opened to show blue sky and fast moving low clouds. A low in Arizona is forecast to move in as a cold front, rain starting tomorrow.
Mr Owl is roosting in the Computer oak again, not very well hidden.
PM, high T=82F, now misting rain under a completely socked in sky.
Near sundown the sky was overcast, darkening early.
7:44pm; Mr Owl moved down from his day roost, eventually perching low in the Computer oak.
7:49pm; He flew low, 10’high, through the Gap to a perch at the north end of the clothesline. Ms Owl followed a few seconds later, flying straight to her customary perch in the pecan over the K’s carport. Mr left his low perch after only a few seconds to fly west. Ms Owl followed, and that was the last we saw of them
8:05pm; Ms Owl returned to the next box.
Sunday, March 4, 2018, day 3 in the nest box
A.m. temperature = 67.6°F. Overcast, breezy, fragrant with blossoms. Mockingbirds singing and waxwings peeping
6:25 AM, Mme Owl was perched quietly in the K pecan and Mr. Owl in the shop hackberry.
6:30 AM, she flew to the nest box and he flew to his palm roost. Day three for her in the box.
7:45 AM Cooper’s hawk landed in the art park pecan
PM, High T=76F
Guests, so no real owl watching.
7:50 PM: Madame Owl came back to the box but remained mostly silent. She stayed until 9 PM fed only once. Spent majority of the time head out.
Saturday, March 3, 2018
Day 2 in nestbox
A.m. temperature = 53° F; beautiful red clouds at dawn.
6:30 AM both owls are perching in the pecan limbs over the Klein carport. One owl was eating something large, perhaps half a bird, which it appeared to offload to a cache, perhaps on the carport roof or an adjacent pecan branch.
6:35 AM, male owl flew west to its palm roost and the female flew up to the nest box. Day two!
The Hoke oak is frothing full of lime green catkins, and at 7 AM a Cooper’s hawk flew into it for a one minute visit before flying north across our house. Mockingbirds seem to be in full mating season activity: flying at rivals, battling on the wing, and singing vociferously. We noticed this morning that the crepe myrtle is full of little leaves. There were waxwing feathers on every step of the back deck as well as on the back walk and around our grill. I guess that explains what they were eating on the pecan branch this morning.
Lunch note: saw yellow/black tiger swallowtail.
PM; no rain. high temperature = 73° F;
6:40 PM, Ms. owl planed down from the nest box, through the Gap to the K pecan. Mr. owl appeared from the north with a bug to feed her on the pecan perch. They then moved to a branch, out of sight to those of us on the shop steps. So when we came up the deck steps we were surprised and pleased to see both owls in the orchid tree, 10 ft away, calmly watching us. We went inside and no sooner had we done so than Madame Owl went to the water dish and sipped quietly, periodically for at least five minutes. Thirsty girl.
Friday, March 2, 2018
6:30 am, one owl swept up into the palm to roost. Madame Owl is in the upper box, head out. Is she ready to stay?
7:00am, T=57 degrees.
We found a big gob of cedar waxwing belly feathers under the computer oak, behind the car—another meal with bones to provide calcium for eggs! The female is spending lots of time on the internal perch, surveying the world outside the nestbox entrance.
Thursday, March 1, 2018
6:30am, T=72F; wind just picking up, bringing swirls of cooler air from an incoming front. 0.01” sprinkly rain preceded it.
Earlier in the morning there was an owl in the yard to the west. Didn’t see either owl go to the palm today but there are neither owls nor squirrels in the nestboxes.
7:15am, T now =67F; grey and lowering but not really very cold. Some wing cracking from the white wing doves; Cooper’s hawk in the Hoke oak.
Beautiful warm day, cirrus aviaticus everywhere. A bulbul was singing at the top of the crepe myrtle; small butterfly all around the hackberry twigs—hackberry is on the fast track to leaf out by tomorrow. Cooper’s hawk flew over us on the driveway.
PM; full moon rising had both of us trying to get shots of it and the clouds and the silhouette of the low box all in one frame.
6:45pm, two owls are out back: female in the pecan, male on the shop hackberry. Mme visited the high box twice for 15-29 minutes, fluffing shavings and getting fed a couple of times by the male, who is hunting moths in the early evening.
Tuesday, March 7, 2017
A.m.; warm, T=69° at 7 AM; cloudy, breezy, waiting for a little cool front to move in. It is hard to even think about owls today. We don’t know where they are roosting. Possibly both in the palm tree.
PM; cooling and clearing.
Male and female owls in the shop hackberry, apparently coming from the west–another vote for the palm roost. Male flew over the garage to the lower box and started box calls; we have not seen this for a while! Female joined him but did not see whether either of them went inside.
Feeding in the crepe myrtle. Both owls made several insect hawking dives into foliage, and one of the owls made a try at a rat scampering through the computer oak! We haven’t seen that before. Caught the first June bug tonight, too.
Both owls visited the low box again for another session of box calls. Later, we saw feeding and mating in the shop hackberry.
This looks like pre-nesting behavior – mating, feeding the female, and she waiting quietly to be fed. Does the male know his chicks are dead? Or is this triggered simply by her being out of the box at sundown rather than confined inside?
Are they starting over?
Monday, March 6, 2017
A.m. T=69°, still raining off and on. Cooling and clearing.
Female is in the box with one chick, no sign of the other two bodies. Male is not in his wet roost in the cherry laurel like yesterday. We don’t know where he is this morning.
11:45 AM, in the midst of another shower the squirrel returned to contest for the dry box. This time he was successful, driving the female owl out. As I watched on the cam he was whirling around the bottom of the box, shavings and chips flying wildly everywhere. The third chick was dead, thoroughly and deliberately trampled. We got the squirrel out with one sharp, despairing clack of the mechanical fingers, but the damage was done. The female was 6 feet away on a branch outside of the box. She returned to the entrance, down to the floor, back to the entrance, gazing down at the chick. She spent time covering it with her wings, prodding it, and her soft, encouraging clucking to the chick was heart rending.
6:44 PM; female left her box to go directly to the yard west of us. The male, who had been in the shop hackberry, flew west to join her.
7:14 PM female returned to the box for a couple of minutes and left again.
7:41 PM; female is back in the box. 8:10 PM; out again. 9:05 PM; back in
What will happen now? Will she return to roost in this box tomorrow? Or ever? Return to her day roost in the art park? Will she lay more eggs? In the same box or somewhere else? We know that if owls lose a clutch of eggs they will lay more eggs. We don’t know if, losing an entire brood of hatchlings, they will lay eggs again or not
Sunday March 5, 2017 disaster
T =62°F, raining, but not hard.
Male is in the cherry laurel, not well hidden so mobbed, not well protected so soaking wet. Why not roost under the eve? Why not in the snug boy box?
Rain all day, 1.9 inches total
6:35 PM; male dropped from his perch to the crepe myrtle and preened his wet feathers, over and over and over.
6:45 PM; in the midst of more rain a squirrel invaded the box, trying to drive the female owl out. In the frantic battle two of the chicks were killed, only one chick alive afterwards. And during the squirrel fight the male grooming continued in the crepe myrtle. Completely useless. Madame owl, during the next 30 minutes, moved the bodies of the dead chicks, first here, then there. Unsure? unbelieving?
7 PM; male delivered a big moth. Big help.
March 4, 2017
6:25am, T=60F, 10 degrees warmer than this time yesterday; also cloudy.
The male owl was by the garage steps when I went outside. I should have just gone back inside but I sat on the deck steps for a minute. If I hadn’t maybe he would have bathed or hung around. Instead he flew to the fig tree in A&A’s yard and eventually up into the palm. The female has a bird carcass in the box to feed her chicks today.
PM, Slow rain in the evening. Did owl watching inside.
6:45pm; female left the nestbox. There are definitely THREE owlets huddled together.
6:50pm; female returned to feed them a moth, based on the scales in the air. Where do you find moths on a rainy night?
6:52-7pm; two bug deliveries, two moths. One chick has modified its cheep to the scratchy “feed me!” demand. Boy, that didn’t take long.
8:28pm; male delivers a sizable piece of something and Madame immediately sets to feeding the chicks. The big piece is very dark and has a tail….a rat? Even better!