One of the parent owls brings a frog to owlet.
On January 19 2003 we spotted mother owl in nesting mode. Strangely enough they had picked the tree-mounted emergency nest/planter from 2002 season.
In the first week of March we observed the parents bringing food to the planter. One or more eggs must have hatched.
Our first glimpse of 'baby' . Shot using Sony camcorder on March 10 about 10am.
March 15th was a two milestone day. Not only did the owlet make it up on the rim, but his(or her) sibling also got a chance to be seen. We now have two owlets. There are many atvantages to being on the rim. When food shows up, the owlet closest and fastest gets the prize.
Sunday March 23rd: The owlets have made great progress. They can hop up on the rim with minimum effort. They will jump from one side to the other. They do lots of stretching, and often the stretch ends with a vigous wing flap. The action seems involuntery. Recent meals include crawfish, frogs, lizards and mice.
On March 26, one of the owlets left the nest. We did not witness its departure, so it is impossible to say if it jumped, fell or flew away. Maybe a combination of all three. The next day the second owlet joined its sibling. We can hear them and have spotted them in the trees about eight feet off the ground. The parents are still nearby and will continue to feed them. Now the long process begins of training the owlets to locate and capture the food they need to survive. This shot of the parent is typical of the close eye they keep on me when I venture into my yard. She is relatively calm, no beak snapping or other warning signs. It is always important to be careful around these birds, as they can be very protective of their young.
Hiding in a palm tree, one of the owlets is quiet as a mouse. The only muscle movement was its eyes blinking. The light feathers makes it hard to hide. I shot this with a telephoto lens from about 75 feet away. (Mar 29)
In the first weeks of April the owlets are 'branching'. In this stage they climb, fall and soar from branch to branch. Slowly refining their flying and landing skills. By mid month they seem to be in full control and able to fly and land anywhere they like. The parents are almost always near by and the owlets are usually calling in their raspy call for more food.
By mid April the owlets and their parents are moving further from our house. They seem to move alot. We can hear them move closer in the evening. Our lawn, bird feeder and compost heap offer hunting opertunities that are not avilable in the woods.
I am on pretty good terms with the owls this year. They did not 'pop' their beaks at me once this year. They seem to consider me part of the landscape. They do keep an eye on me. I always try to minimize my contact.
After several weeks of no sightings, the owlets showed up this am (May 23rd). They were outside our bathroom window 'hissing' for food. They were within 20 feet of our home. They were not hissing at us, we have never feed them. They were hissing for their parents to feed them. I was out in the yard with them for about 25 minutes shooting stills and video. I saw no sign of mom, but I don't doubt for a second that she was near by keeping an close eye on me.
WARNING! Owls are wild animals. They have very sharp talons and can be very protective of their young. They have been known to attack the eyes of people that violate their space. Don't approach any wild animals.