Sunday, May 15, 2011
The Home Stretch
Fledging is getting very close. Momma spent almost half of yesterday (Saturday) outside of the box. Food is being delivered to the opening but seldom any farther. The owlets are clambering over each other to get it, occassionally reaching the opening and catching hold of the threshold. One of these night, Momma or Papa will lure the larger, bolder owlet to reach out a little too far and he/she will fall to the ground. From there there is no turning back.
Young screech owls leave the nest before they can fly. They walk and hop across the ground until they reach a nearby tree. Using their talons and beaks they will climb and find a perch where the adults can find them and bring them food. It is a time of excitement in the owl world but also a time of peril. They are still dependent on their parents. With 5 young to follow, the job of Momma and Papa will not be easy. I will assist if needed but as always, the purpose of this camera is to observe nature--not interfere.
It will be a time of sorrow for me because they will no longer be broadcast into my home. I will see them for a few days in the yard. Papa especially will defend them and we will have to watch out for his attacks (or are they distractions). Then they will be gone to fend for themselves.
Keep watching as they make this final leap of faith.