Before you can fly you have to have wings and the young owls are developing theirs fast. If you have been watching the live feed, you have certainly noticed the new feathers the young owls have developed in the last week or so. they are spending lots of time exercising them in the limited space in the box. When I have time, I will go back and review many hours of recorded video and figure out when the first true feathers actually started to develop. In the mean time, here are a couple of images of the owlet's wings taken from last night:
Before I installed the camera this year, our only clue that young owls were around was that the male screech owl would aggressively defend the area around the nest box at night. He would fly within a couple of feet of our heads, making incredible screeching sounds with lots of beak clicking. Thursday night was the first night this year that he displayed that behavior--even while all of the owlets were still in the box. Now it is only a matter of time until one chooses, or is pushed, out of the box and into its new life beyond. Papa (and Momma, of course) will be there to defend and feed while they learn to use their new wing feathers.