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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