February 28, 2009
AM, T=64 at 5AM, falling to 55 by 6:30; N wind
Female is in the box, didn’t see the male but slept in this morning. Still can’t see the egg(s) in the box. 3:40P, Female has been extraordinarily quiet today, hardly changing position. No trilling so far, and no hopping up into the entrance to look around. Is it because it is cold and windy? Also because of the wind, the internet cable speed has been dismally slow, making the feed to the website patchy.
PM, T=50, breezy and temperature dropping
Loud trill from female in box at 4:34PM. We were driving to Art and Julie’s around sundown; no observations. When we returned around 11PM, saw no owls in driveway. But when I returned to car to retrieve a jacket, I heard a small impact in the driveway branch directly over the car. The female had landed above me, about 8 feet away, and calmly watched as I opened first the trunk and then the side door, retrieved jacket, and locked the car. She did not stir even when the auto-lock beeped and lights flashed, nor when I walked under her to get to the house.
11PM, T now in the 40’s and dropping, still windy.
February 27, 2009
AM, T=72F, warm and breezy
2:15AM. I was awakened by raccoons making their thin, screeching cries (which in my sleepy brain sounded disturbingly like an owl being eaten by cats or something like that). However, when I checked, the female owl was sitting quietly on the Driveway Branch. 6:30AM, both owls arrived almost simultaneously, from the east, landing on external perches of the two boxes. 6:31AM, male entered the Boy Box. Female sat for another 4 minutes on the perch, watching the dawn, entering the nest box at 6:35AM.
At 8:00AM, loud monotonic trill from female (did not hear an answer from the Boy Box). Is this like chickens clucking when they lay an egg? (one-track mind!). 1PM She trilled again loudly, three times.
2:15P, she shifted to the side a bit and C saw AN EGG. Yessss!
2:38P, F has her head out the entrance hole, trilling quietly. And danged if she hasn’t hidden that egg. It was there, it WAS, I swear.
PM, T=75, breezy
Out for the evening, so no observations. Female was on a branch over the garage when we came home.
February 26, 2009
AM, T=67, moist, slightly foggy with clouds
6:21AM. Female in Birdfeeder Tree.
6:29AM. Female in flew to external perch on nest box and sat for almost 10 minutes, just watching the dawn. 6:30AM, Male flew to Boy Box and entered it (for the day?). 6:39AM, Female entered nest box. She gave one monotonic trill, while perching head out in the entrance (via microphone, we could not hear any answer from male). At 6:56AM, a blue-jay screamed somewhere near the box, and the female (head out) rattle-cackled in response. When the female settled onto the shavings at 7:00AM, I, like Connie, thought I might have seen a hint of the “egg-rolling shimmy”.
10AM, 3 loud trills from Female in nest box.
3:30P, F is fidgety, fluffing the bottom of the box. She trilled twice softly, sat in the entrance for 10 minutes, then returned to the bottom of the box and trilled loudly.
5:40P, F trilled
PM, T=75, scattered clouds, warm
6:39PM. Female exited nest box, flying north. 6:40PM, Male exited Boy Box, where he had spent the day, and flew east. I can’t see any eggs in the nest box, but we know this female takes diabolical joy in lining them all up against the back wall of the box, just out of view of the roof camera, so we might have one, but just can’t see it….and on that subject:
[Phone call from Margie: the Bellewood box has an egg tonight!]
Katydids are buzzing loudly at 6:52PM. Connie reports an owl feeding in the ligustrum north of us (presumably on moths). At 7:05PM, the female was in the water dish (“birdbath”) on the kitchen deck. She stood in the water for a long time, maybe 3 minutes, drinking occasionally, not splashing wildly, but maybe just soaking her feet. Or her rear end? Please excuse our one-track mind; I’m trying to decide if this might be something to make egg-laying more comfortable or something like that!
Periodic checks through the evening show the female generally somewhere along the driveway.
10:28P, owl on the exterior perch, descending trill; came into the box and sat on the floor briefly, then exited. M or F?
February 25, 2009
AM, T=58, moist, slightly foggy with clouds
6:21AM. Female in Birdfeeder Tree. Connie spotted male and female there. They both flew to the back deck and we found them at the water dish on back deck. She sat in the water while he perched on the rim, then he got in too and they both sipped. She went 10’ to the Thistle feeder branch and the male had a good, splashing bath. Joining her on her branch he preened and fluffed and groomed, even after she left.
6:31A, female flew to Driveway Branch, then to nest box at 6:33AM, then inside box at 6:36AM. Male was still on his branch in back trying to dry out. He shook vigorously and preened and sat with his wings slightly akimbo, looking in silhouette a little like a penguin.
6:38A, M flew to tree E of the shop; instead of going to the Boy box he went back N. Perhaps he is roosting today in their old roost tree.
7:02AM, Mockingbird scolding in the Sandbox Tree E of the shop. Is the male trying to roost there? Yes, we spotted the male roosting high in the liveoak tree over Sandbox. At 7:05AM, female poked head out, was scolded by bluejay, she rattled back at the jay. At 10:10AM, female trilled twice (monotonic) while sitting on floor of box (from microphone, could not hear if male in his oak tree had initiated this, or if he answered). Is there an egg? Although we have not caught sight of it, Connie thought that part of the females scuffling around down in the shavings in the bottom of the box included the “egg-rolling shimmy”, in which she shakes her body back and forth as she settles it down. This female is good at placing the eggs out of view of the roof cam!
PM, T=73, scattered clouds, warm
6:35PM. Male has been roosting all day in oak tree east of Sand Box, left at 6:35PM and flew east. Female left nest box at 6:38PM and flew north, probably to hunt ligustrum. At 6:45PM she was sitting in Birdfeeder Tree. At 6:59 she was at the drinking dish on the back porch, but I scared her by closing a window in the bathroom. Lots of katydids were buzzing around sunset. When we walked the driveway at 10:30PM, we heard geckos squeaking, so it seems like many of the spring food species are around.
February 24, 2009
AM, T=53, clear, cool, light breeze
5:50-6:25AM. Female on Driveway Branch locations.
6:28A, F flew through the gap to the back yard Birdfeeder branch. She was joined by the male and they engaged in a little morning mating, then he went to his Boy box and went straight to bed. Typical. The F went to the nest box and sat on the exterior perch til 6:43A, when she went in and watched from the entrance hole instead.
PM, T=72, clear, but balmy, much warmer
6:40PM. Male left Boy Box and flew south down driveway (not seen again until much later). 6:41PM Female left Nest Box and flew to east side of garage.
6:44PM, Female on Birdfeeder tree, sitting quietly for 5 minutes, then flew north at 6:49PM. Katydids were buzzing loudly right around sunset, but they throttled back soon after.
February 23, 2009
Anyone want to vote on First Egg Day?
AM, T=38, clear, cold, still
both owls in the tree E of the shop
6:30A, female went to the nest box and in; in 30 sec the male went to the Boy Box
6:31A, M left the Boy box and headed N
6:32A, F left her box and sat on the Honda branch, looking N and E
6:33A, M returned and ducked into his box, the F then returned to hers.
6:34A, M left the Boy box again, going N. He must be torn b/w a roost more open, with lines of sight in all directions and one that is within sight and sound of the nest box but has only one hole to look out of.
6:35A, M returned and ducked into his box again.
PM, T=52, clear, cold, still
6:38 PM, Female left nest box, 6:43PM, Male left Boy Box. Female landed east of Birdfeeder tree, made several trips to ligustrum to north, arrowed to driveway, sat on Driveway Branch, moved to crepe myrtle, gone by 7PM.
8:30PM. I walked out the back door and looked up to see an owl in the Birdfeeder Tree. A second owl was in the crepe myrtle over the driveway.
9:15PM. Owl perched on external perch and gave descending trills, fairly softly, in three bouts; three trills, two trills, three trills.
9:40PM. Female was sitting in Thistlefeeder Tree, motionless for a long time. Then moved to low Orchid Branch. We waited to see if she was going to visit the deck for a drink, but at that point a black cat crossed the deck, and the owl flew up to Birdfeeder Tree.
February 22, 2009
AM, T=40F, very clear and sunny
5:50A, owl in the crepe myrtle
6:30A, female to the box; didn’t see the male, but Tom says he is in the Boy Box again.
11:10A, F trilled from nest box.
2:50P, trill from the F in the box.
PM, T=52, cool and clear
6:36 PM. Female popped out of nest box, and male popped out of Boy Box. He flew straight east. Female flew to Poop Branch for a brief stretch, before flying to the flowering ligustrum tree in yard north of us to hunt moths.
6:48P, male fed female. Hunting activity this evening (at least for early evening) was clearly concentrated on catching moths in the two nearest flowering ligustrum shrubs (more like small trees). The owls alternated between the ligustrum in neighbor’s yard to the north, and the other ligustrum near our driveway. The female tended to sit for long periods between hunting dives. I saw the male feed the female (presumably moths) four times between 6:45PM and 7:15PM.
8:35P, descending trill from an owl on the ext. perch of the box; sounds like two owls out there—feeding? defending? Gone again. I just sat down at the computer—does this go on all night long? Was I just lucky?
8:41P, descending trill from an owl on the ext. perch of the box, again. That’s a call we haven’t heard since early Dec ’08, before mating season.
February 21, 2009
AM, T=47, overcast with light breeze
6:36AM, Female on exterior perch, entered box at 6:38AM, perching head out of the entrance. We started watching late today, and did not see the male. 10:38A, 3 very loud trills from the F seated on the floor of her box 4PM, Heard the male trill, answered instantly and loudly by the female. Is he in the boy box?
PM, T=61, north wind
No observations, we were not at home on Euclid St. Bellewood Bulletin: Lloyd called today to say they have an owl in their box at Bellewood St. We saw this owl sticking her head out in the evening, and based on her facial coloration, are guessing there’s a good chance it’s the same female that raised 3 babies on Bellewood last year.
February 20, 2009
AM, T=57, clear
6:29A, F on exterior perch, M on Honda branch. F entered box, M flew N.
PM, T=55, clear and a bit breezy
6:34 PM. Female exited the nest box, and flew very low to the north along east side of shop. A few minutes later, Katherine and I saw her appear on the Poop Branch (east of the birdfeeder tree). She (the owl, not Katherine) made an erratic bug-hunting flight to the yard north of us—C could hear her beak snap; probably to hunt moths in the ligustrum tree there, and returned to the birdfeeder area at least twice. Ms. Owl flew through the gap to our driveway area and sat on several of her customary hunting perches (Driveway Branch and Stub Branch). The most striking thing about her behavior this evening was that she would sit motionless, for up to 20 minutes on some of these perches, making only an occasional hunting dive into the ligustrum or compost-pile areas. (This echoes closely her behavior according to our log last Feb, 2008, just before eggs) Is she conserving energy for egg laying? We did not see the male until later (about 7:30 PM), when he showed up in the crepe myrtle. At one point, he and she sat a foot apart on a branch, but we did not observe any mating or feeding behavior. Around 8PM, I observed an owl hunting in the ligustrum at the neighbor’s yard to the north, its swoops sharply silhouetted by the glare of their back porch light. It seemed clear that the target was moths, drawn by the light and by the ligustrum flowers. Past 8:30PM, the female was again sitting motionless on our Driveway Branch.
February 19, 2009
AM, T=51, clear
5:10A, heard trilling, first F, then M. Owl was on the exterior box perch
6:24A, owl on the ext. box perch, then into the box. I went to watch the roost tree—bad decision, as I was at the wrong place at every step. While I was at that window the 2nd owl apparently also came to the box and joined the one already in there. So which was there first, M or F? It was not a happy family situation, however, with the two of them bickering like ten year olds over who’s turn it was in the entrance. After shoving, biting, changing places several times over, vociferous chittering, flapping and pecking one of them was evicted. The F retained possession of the box. Perhaps it is too close to egg laying for her to allow another owl to roost there. Or maybe it is some form of owl PMS (PES, Pre-Egg Syndrome?)
3:50PM, M trilled from somewhere outside the box—I could barely hear it from inside and thought I must be mistaken. But the F instantly responded with a loud trill, then another in 10 seconds. What was that about?
4:50P, (T=68F) Mystery solved! If I had been watching the box from the window this morning instead of at the computer I would have seen where the evicted M ended up: the most appropriate place—the Boy Box, 20 feet away. That’s why I could hear his trill through the nest box microphone.
PM, T=64, clear
6:36 PM. The female exited the nest box and flew north, watched by the male, who exited the Boy Box about 20 seconds later and headed south down our driveway. The female apparently circled our garage to end up in the tree east of the Birdfeeder Tree. After stretching and grooming there, the female made several food flights into the ligustrum tree to the north of us. Eventually, both owls moved to our driveway area.