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Thursday, June 9, 2011

And even more cruel

The last post was on Saturday. On Tuesday, the same neighbor brought over another owlet he found dead in his yard. In this case, the young owl was found lying face down and showed no sign of trauma. Yesterday I delivered it to the Raptor Trust and one of their employees conducted a necropsy--result was that there was no food in the young birds stomach. She could find no reason other than not being fed and confirmed that there was apparently no physical injury or other reason for death. Apparently the family became so scattered after they left the box that the parents were unable to care for them all.

After we found the dead bird on Tuesday, I scoured the trees around my yard and found an adult roosting with two of the owlets. These owlets appeared to be in good shape and I left them all there together without any disturbance. Bottom line is that 2 are gone, 2 are fine and one is unaccounted for. Hopefully at least the two will continue to receive enough nourishment and continue to thrive to adulthood.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Sometimes Nature is Cruel

I received a message from a neighbor this afternoon with bad news about one of the owlets. He had found the remains (both wings and scattered feathers) of a young screech owl in his yard. He also found 3 of the owlets huddled together about 4 feet off the ground in a young sapling nearby. I went over and we checked it out. There was no evidence to suggest what killed and consumed the young owl. They have been spending a lot of time on or close to the ground so it could have been any number of things including a larger bird (Great Horned Owl?), fox, or even a feral cat. We could not locate #5. At least 3 are still doing well and staying together so here is a photo of their progress:

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Family Progress

I ran into the owl family this morning while I was walking my dog. Unfortunately, I did not have my camera with me at the time because there was one owlet (still looking pretty young) on the ground, at least two more were nearby a few feet off the ground in a shrub, and at least one adult was clicking its beak, warning me to stay away. By the time I took my dog back to the house and retrieved the camera, I could only find one owlet high in a tree but all of the other birds in the yard were still screaming a warning to all who would listen.

Habitat for owls is so much more than just a box on a tree. The family has moved into a "wilder" part of the yard where there is substantial cover to hide in during the day. There is also ample food and a nearby source of (at least seasonal) water. Their presence may impact "The Catbird's Meow" but it is habitat for all.