Now the question: Many references discussing the Eastern Screech Owl mention that the male selects the cavity and then attracts the female by calling. The female selects the male with the "best" nest cavity and presumable voice as well. They are also believed to mate for life (of course if one passes away, a new mate may be found). If one were to judge only on the above video, one would assume that the first owl was the male, and owl 2, the female. I believe it is the other way around. Evidence:
1) This nest box has been used for 7 straight years. The female (and if fact every owl I have ever seen looking out of the nest box including last night) has always been a gray phase bird. The average life of a wild screech owl is about 14 years. I am assuming that the one in the box first last night is the same female that has been here for years.
2) The difference in coloration (can't really see color in the night videos unfortunately) suggests that owl 2 is a red phase. (NOTE: the phase color does not indicate gender). Two years ago the male was definitely a red phase, but last year, I am pretty sure they were both gray phase. If the above are true this is a new male.
3) In the video on 1/12, the owl in the box (tonight's owl 1) left for 12 seconds and returned with a grub--too quickly I believe to have dug it up on its own. That suggests that the owl that was not visible provided it to owl 1--typical behavior for a courting male.
We will all have to keep watching to find out for sure.