May 3, 2009
AM, T=77, low coastal clouds, chance of storms
6:00-6:30A, the owlets were all down where they were last night when we went to bed, over the driveway. Both parents busy with feeding. I notice repeated quiet bill clapping when a parent is there, but I don’t know who is doing it. It doesn’t seem to be defensive. If it is from the owlets perhaps it is in anticipation, or has something to do with jockeying for position; if it is from the parent perhaps it is instructional, or a signal to follow.
Shortly following the clapping the fledglings started moving, short hops and flights, to the west. Following the female? They all grouped in the oak over the east side of our house, overlooking the driveway. So they are now pretty much right over my head as I sit here at the computer. The F is within 10’, roosting right next to the trunk; the M is in full vigilant mode nearby, eartufts extended as I walked down the driveway.
PM, T=75 , overcast and still
8:30PM. At sundown, the owlets were still in the oak tree over our driveway, but as soon as the evening’s feeding started, they all moved into the huge sweetgum tree in our neighbor’s yard immediately to the west of us. They were easily located by listening for their food-begging “rasps”. We suspect that this movement of the owlets from tree to tree is not driven by any particular plan, but simply results from the hungry owlets making short flights to try to meet an incoming parent (thereby getting a jump on their competitive siblings), or alternatively, to try to follow a parent who is heading off again to pick up the next grocery item. Whatever the cause of this “drift” in locations, it is quite likely that we will not see the owlets in our yard again.