April 28, 2010

Female was out of the box when I checked at 5:50am, but returned at 6:11am. Maybe with a bird fragment (started feeding owlets, anyway).
PM, T=72F, clear and warm
First food delivery by male was 8:50pm, a gecko, which he dropped into the mouth of one noisy owlet. 8:59pm second gecko from the male. 9:15pm, third gecko. 9:44 Fourth gecko from male. More followed, but I was not watching. Owlets are rasping loudly, doing a bit of wing-flap exercises in their spare time, and competing for food. It looks like everybody is getting something to eat.

April 27, 2010

Female brought a bird into the box at 6:15am and fed it to the owlets.
PM, T=70F, clear and warm
First food delivery by male was 8:27pm (lizard or insect; not sure)..8:31 pm Female returned to nest box with a bird, entering so fast I couldn’t even catch her on camera. In her forceful efforts to tear it up, using violent, vertical pulls, she managed to bonk her head on the underside of the perch, 3 times in a row. You’d think she’d move the operation a few inches away, but…. (?). 8:41pm, Male delivered a cockroach to the female, which she ate herself. By 8:49pm it appeared that the bird was consumed. Owlets must all have “puppybelly” now. At 9:37pm, female is feeding owlets again on what looks like a bird (could it be a piece of the earlier meal?). At 9:52pm, female is out of the box again, and she was still out an hour later.

April 26, 2010

Female was in box at 5:40am.
PM, T=79F, clear and warm
Female was up in the entrance of nest box at 8pm, after spending much of the early evening on the corner perch above the owlets. At least one owlet has opened its eyes. There is something on the floor of the nest that looks an awful lot like a chunk of styrafoam cup; where in the world did that come from? Female flew from the nest box at 8:05pm. It was very warm today; I wonder if the parents will head for the drinking bowl tonight. At 8:41pm, female was back in box, tearing up something large for the owlets. I was in the kitchen, washing dishes (that’ll teach me!) so I missed seeing her bring it in. After a spell of feeding owlets, female left the box again at 8:52pm.

April 25, 2010
AM,T=64F,clear and still in morning, windy in afternoon.

5:50am Female was out of the box. She returned at 6:21am, not carrying any new food, but proceeded to pick up a remnant piece of bird carcass on the floor and fed the owlets. At 6:34am, the male appeared, in the face of vociferous mobbing from birds outside the box (including a very loud robin), to drop off a large katydid. The owlets have learned to make full-blown rasping noises at feeding time. Mom is spending much of her “box time” up on the perch in the corner, rather than sitting on the floor with the owlets.
PM, T=80F, warm and clear
I did find the male’s day roost today: he’s back in the “Football” roost, as high up under the grapevines as he can get. He’s quite hard to see there. As she did yesterday, female spent a lot of time up in the entrance to nest box this afternoon. About 8pm, she was in the entrance, making soft, high-pitched descending trills ( advance food requests to roosting male?). She flew from nest box at 8:09pm. 8:25pm, Male delivered a moth (?). The lucky receiver got pecked a few times by the nearest, disgruntled owlet. Watch carefully for a “pass interference” penalty on the next play. 8:29pm Katydid delivery from male (video). 8:33pm. Female returned and immediately started tearing up a bird. I didn’t see her carrying anything when she arrived: was this previously cached? She left again (when I was not watching). 9pm. Insect (?) delivery from the male. 9:02pm, Moth from the male.

April 24, 2010
AM,T=75F,warm and humid, pattering rain, turning very windy, then cooling

5:20am Female was out of the box. Three owlets were piled together. Male (?) popped in at 5:33am, dropping off what appeared to be a gecko, which was choked down by one owlet (video). Second gecko from the male at 5:48am. Third gecko at 5:49am ! (video, slightly late). Fourth gecko at 6:01am (video). Fifth gecko at 6:03am. Sixth and seventh geckos at 6:20am and 6:28am. Female returned at 6:50am, when it was quite light outside. She was not carrying food, and she got up onto the corner perch for a few minutes, before hopping down to brood the owlets.
PM, T=77F, warm and clear
Didn’t spot the male’s roost today, either. Female spent a lot of time up in the entrance to nest box this afternoon. She flew from nest box at 8:09pm. At 8:23pm, she was back with something (probably a bird) that she immediately began tearing up and feeding to owlets. She left the box again, and was back at 9:34pm, tearing up something else for the owlets.

April 23, 2010
AM,T=74F,warm and humid, pattering rain

6:30am Female was out of the box, returning at 6:45am. She sat for a while in the entrance of nest box, perhaps enjoying the rain. Back in the box, she spent a while feeding the three owlets and also grooming them (video). We’ve decided that this is the final count of owlets for this season. At 7am, female got up into the entrance and sat, head out, giving very soft, high-pitched descending trills. She appeared to be communicating with the male, but was it a food request?
PM, T=78F, warmish and a bit humid
Couldn’t spot the male’s roost spot today. Female left the nest box at 8:06pm. As KAS noted, female spent a lot of the day either in the entrance of the nest box, or up on a perch inside the box, rather than brooding the owlets. Maybe this means they can regulate their own temperatures now (plus, the weather is quite warm). A parent poppped into the box at 8:26pm, delivered one insect to an owlet, and left again immediately. Based on this behavior, I’m guessing it was the male. Female was back in the box when I looked at 8:45pm, but don’t know exactly when she returned. 8:48 Moth delivered by mail (video of “snow globe” effect). Female out at 9:20pm

April 22, 2010
AM,T=61F, humid, overcast

5:30am Female was out of the box. Three owlets were visible. Female returned at 5:35am, carrying what appeared to be a large piece of a bird (video). Female left the box again at 6:16am. Again, three owlets were visible. Recent observations seem to point to the likelihood that Egg #4 was a dud and has been disposed of. Nice pink sunrise is cranking up at 6:30am, and Ms. Owl is still out hunting or bathing. She returned at 6:38am, not carrying any food.
PM, T=72F, high clouds
I located the male’s foliage roost this afternoon; he’s in the small oak tree just east of the shop window (the “Possum Tree”), high up, perhaps 8 feet above the elevation of the nest box. Male left his roost at 8:01pm and flew north. Female left nest box at 8:05pm. Male arrived at box at 8:21pm, carrying some small insect like a beetle, looked in, appeared baffled by the absence of Mom, and pulled out again to sit on the outside perch. After thinking the problem through, he popped back in, stuffed the bug into the mouth of the nearest owlet, and left in a hurry. Mosquitos are pestering the owlets. Female still gone at 8:39pm; a serious hunting effort? Female returned at 9:15pm, not carrying anything. Microphone picked up several food deliveries during the wee hours.

April 21, 2010
, no observations.
PM, T=72F, high clouds
7:57pm Female got up into the entrance of nest box. 8:05 pm, Male appeared on Honda Branch, arriving from over the garage roof. Earlier, I had not been able to spot him under the Grapevine Roost, but judging by his flight path, he might actually have been roosting there, or in the yard to the north. After a minute, he flew back N or NW, high over garage. 8:07pm, Female left nest box. Owlets are clustered toward rear corner of the box: I can count three owlets, and no view of egg (if it’s present at all). Owlets are sitting motionless, and it’s apparent we’re not going to achieve a more accurate head count tonight, since nobody is moving. 8:25pm, She returns, with moth, which she feeds to owlets. This is not going to be enough to keep this crowd happy! Based on sounds from the box, the male made several more food deliveries between 9pm and 11pm, but no visual i.d. of these items.

April 20, 2010
, no observations.
PM, T=74F, high clouds
7:37pm . Female got up into entrance of nest box for a minute, revealing what appeared to be 3 owlets and 1 egg. Female left nest box at 8:10pm, and was back at 8:20pm. Female left the box again at 8:51pm, and was back with a bird at 8:52pm, which she immediately began tearing up and feeding the owlets. All quiet at 10pm.

April 19, 2010
AM, T=64F, light rain and drippiness all night long

4am, Female and male trilling. Female is feeding owlets
5-5:30, lots of trilling from the male 5:35am, Female just finished with cache. Floor or the nest box is covered in feathers—what a mess!
PM, T=64F, overcast, moist, following rain at midday
7:55pm Female had been feeding owlets on scraps from the floor in early evening.
I can’t spot the male; don’t know where he roosted today. 8:15pm, female is continuing to brood the owlets, and has not left the box, so no chance to count owlets. Maybe male will call her outside for a big food item. Only one food delivery, a moth, at 9:41pm. Female has not left the box this evening.