January 29, 2011
Warm, cloudy and due to rain on the Houston Marathon tomorrow.
Courtship behavior tonight
We both watched for owls from 6:20pm on but saw nothing and no owls.
7:18pm, C heard trilling from the computer, tuned to the owl nestbox. The trill was an extended ‘geiger counter’ call; went on for more than two minutes from the male. He started out with just his head out of the nestbox, then dropped to the floor of the box to continue trilling. At 7:20P the female arrived on the outer perch; she trilled, monotonic and higher pitched, and the male continued his Geiger counter call. F left the perch at 7:22pm; male trilled from the entrance hole, then exited the box at 7:25pm.
At 2AM, an owl trilled once.
January 27, 2011
Thursday. T=54F near sundown. Two owls again!!
Around 6:24pm, a large owl (female?) flew from the direction of our back porch (from the Orchid Branch ?, from the Water Dish? ) and landed on the Birdfeeder Branch. After sitting for 15 seconds or so, she(?) made a hunting dive onto the roof of the carport to the north. A half minute later, she flew southward through the Gap, down our driveway, to a perch in the ligustrum or crepe myrtle. A half minute later, she (?) flew north around the east side of the shop, with one swerve in flight, in the neighborhood of the NestBox Tree (possibly a hunting dive). A minute later (6:30pm) , a small owl (male?) flew south from the east side of the shop, and landed on the Stub Branch, overlooking the compost pile. A few seconds later, a second, larger owl (female?) flew south through the Gap to the Prius Branch. Both owls were visible at the same time, for a minute or two, before the larger owl left the Prius Branch and flew south and east, possibly towards the Art Park or to our front yard. At this point, Connie drove in. The small owl left the Stub Perch and flew to the Crepe Myrtle. A half minute later, it flew SE out of sight.
January 26, 2011
Wednesday. T=50F near sundown. Two owls !!
Around 6:35pm I walked out and spotted a small owl sitting on the Honda Branch, facing the nest box. This was interesting, because the female owl does not use this perch at this season (or at least has not been, for many months). Connie drove into the driveway just then, which elicited a soft, barking call from the small owl. Connie exited her car and walked around to the back of the house. As she rounded the corner, Connie spotted the female (“ a big owl ! “) on the Thistle Branch. A few minutes later, the small owl on the Honda Branch made a hunting dive into the compost pile. I did not spot him after that. A half minute later, the female flew through The Gap and landed on the Driveway Branch. (I lost sight of her at this point). A minute later, one of the owls flew up and made a hunting capture against a limb high in the hackberry tree over the driveway.
January 25, 2011
Tuesday. T=50F near sundown.
At 6:40pm, an owl flew into the crepe myrtle/cherry laurel driveway area . Not seen or heard after that. Heard no trilling.
January 21, 2011
Friday. T=45F near sundown. Headed for freeze tonight.
Saw and heard no owls.
But at 8pm, flying squirrel was stealing shavings from the owl box.
10pm, heard trilling, slow monotonic with long pauses b/w bouts. On a hunch we turned on the camera and microphone at the box and sure enough, there it was. Trilled several times, then stuck its head in to scope out the interior. Pitch E flat above middle C
January 20, 2011
Thursday. T=40F near sundown. Extremely windy with cold front arriving.
Saw and heard no owls.
January 19, 2011
Wednesday. T=54F near sundown. Cloudy, with near-full moon, breezy.
Owl arrived on Prius Branch over driveway at 6:54pm, coming from the south (crepe myrtle area?). Sat for one minute, flew into cherry laurel by Grady’s window. In the next couple of minutes, she flitted from cherry laurel to Computer Oak, and back to Prius Branch. At about 7:05pm, she made what looked like a hunting dive into the compost-pile area. I did not see her after that, although I watched until 7:40pm. No trilling up to that point. At 8:25pm, she started trilling, monotonic trills, sounding like she was in computer oak.