4/29/2013

Still no sign of an owl

I checked the box over the weekend and came up empty.  I did find some owl pellets under the pines at the back of the property and was hoping that the owl would use the box.  Looks like more suitable locations have been selected by the owls and that I'll strike out this year...

3/27/2013

Owl cam sites

Considering I've had no action in my owl box I decided to post some links where you can actually see owls in action.   I'm considering changing my blog to noowlinmyowlbox.... a little wordy, no?

Enjoy the owls:

Barn Owl Cam  1    2    3    4
Great Horned Owls  1    2   3   4  
Screech Owl  1   2   3   4

If you come across other streaming owl cams, please share!

3/15/2013

Not an owl in sight

I checked the owl box today and there was no sign of an owl. To make things even bleaker, the wood chips inside the box looked undistributed. I was at least hoping to see a neat little bowl in the middle of the box, but sadly this was not the case.


As I mentioned previously it looks like my only shot of attracting a pair of owls is later in the season if their initial attempts fail at another nesting site.

3/11/2013

Screech owl box ~ No activity yet

So far I haven't seen or heard an owl near the new location of the box.  This is definitely prime time for Screech owl nesting, so I'm hoping for some action in the near future.   My best bet of attracting a pair would probably be a young pair that is new to the area.   Established pairs are most likely using the same nest cavity as previous years.

I'll probably give in to temptation and do a quick site check over the weekend.

PS:  I found another local NJ Screech Owl landlord at New Jersey Screech Owl.  Michael literally lives a stone's throw away from me.

12/30/2012

Spotted Eagle owl nest

If you haven't checked out this blog from my old home town in South Africa please do so.   These lucky people have spotted eagle owls nesting in a pot plant located on their balcony - incredible!

http://potplantowl.blogspot.com/

Owl box location - photo



Owl box now laocated to the top left of the picture about 50 feet from the pine tree row.

Owl box in new location

I finally decided to move the owl box to a new location.   This is the 3 rd location and I am confident that this one will be a winner.   The new location is on my lawn at the back of my garden.  The box is on a 10 foot post and the entrance hole is about 7 1/2 feet from the ground.   To discourage squirrels I put a baffle on the post.   In addition the box is far enough from any trees which means that squirrels won't be able to jump onto the roof.  The day after I put the box in the new location I had a pair of Screech owls calling in my river birch outside my bedroom window.  I am hoping that this is a good omen.   No sighting of any owls during the day....   It's still early days as the owls will only start nesting at the end of March.





2/14/2012

Short eared owl aerial combat


Ron Dudley recently returned from one of his favorite places in the world – Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge. Last year he was able to photograph nesting Short-eared Owls carrying voles to their young but this year, because of the very cold spring, nesting hadn’t even begun. Instead the owls were competing for territory and mates and pairing up. On one morning he was incredibly lucky to find two males trying to impress a female with their aerial prowess and fighting skills. They were so engrossed in their activities that they pretty much ignored him.  What follows is incredible photos of Short eared owl aerial battles.  Make sure you check it out:


Agonistic (fighting) behavior SEO

2/11/2012

Snowy Owl Invasion

Snowy Owls lead nomadic lives and travel vast distances from year to year searching for productive feeding areas. Some years, most recently in the winter of 2011/2012, conditions cause them to come south in great numbers.

Get an intimate look at these white owls from the north through video and photographs captured by the Cornell Lab's, Gerrit Vyn.


See also: Snowy owl adventure with my favorite birder here.

11/27/2011

Searching for the elusive Saw whet owl

Took a quick run to PA this morning to see if I could find a Long eared owl or a Saw whet.  I have been striking out on Saw whet the last few years and I was hoping that my luck would change.  The weather was very cooperative and it was pretty toasty by 7 am.    Although I spent an hour knocking on the usual doors I struck out on both Long eared and Saw whet.  This is the first time I've been out to this spot in November and I am hoping that my luck will change later in winter.

I was lucky enough to see a Screech owl popping its head out of a 'Wood duck box'.  I had to chuckle to myself considering that I am the only person in the world who can't attract a Screech owl pair to my owl box.  To add salt to the wounds my blog is named after the aforementioned vacant owl box.  I had to wonder if I'd get a tenant if I started calling it a Wood duck box.  To be consistent I will also need to change the name of the Blog to the Wood duck box.... doesn't have the same ring does it.  How about Wood duck owl box blogspot - shoewee what a mouth full ;-)

Anyway here is a photo of the Screech owl that was mocking me with his/her cuteness.  This is the first photo that I've taken with my 300mm lens and the 1.4 extender.  I'm pretty impressed with the results, especially give that I had to manual focus it.  I also found a very cooperative Great Blue Heron.


11/23/2011

Barn owls help wine drinkers!

Next time you drink a glass of California Chardonnay say a silent thank you to the Barn owls.  Farmers in California are starting to use Barn Owls to control the rampant gopher population. Farmers use owls to kill gophers.

Barn owls are gopher eating machines:
In warm weather they'll eat two rodents per night and in cold weather that increases to three or four per night. Once we have babies in the nest that increases to one per night when the chicks are just hatched and up to six per night when the young are about ready to fledge!
Barn owls are ideal for land managment as human interaction does not seem to bother them.  This is not withstanding their highly developed sense of hearing - they can actually hear gophers chewing on roots under the ground.  Additionally, Barn owls aren't territorial and unlike other raptors they don't spend the bulk of their time chasing competitors away.

I would encourage anyone who has heard a Barn owl in their area or who has suitable habitat to put up a Barn owl box. 

Here are a couple of sites that may be useful:
Nesting box - Barn owl box company
Biology - http://owling.com/Barn_nh.htm
Box placement and maintenance - http://www.wildlife-center.org/where%20and%20how%20to%20hang%20a%20nesting%20box.htm

The human side of blogging

One of my blog features that I love the most is when readers stop by and introduce themselves.  I've actually had the opportunity to meet a few of these people in 'real' life, but even in the cases where I haven't, it's nice to know a little more about the people that stop by my blog.

If you haven't done so please introduce yourself by clicking here.

11/21/2011

Itching to find a 'winter owl'

As I typed the heading I realized that the title of this post is incorrect as I have already bagged a Snowy owl, which clearly qualifies as a 'winter owl'.  The Snowy I tracked down a couple of weeks ago was actually my first  Snowy in NJ.  So what other winter owls are out there.  On the list is Saw whet, Long eared and Short eared owl.  I have struck out on Saw whet for several years now and this year doesn't look very promising based on the slow migration rates in the states around us.

Along with the typical winter owls I am also hoping that a Great horned owl nesting spot will be used this year.  Anyway, hoping to do some owling this upcoming Thanksgiving weekend.  If I manage to track down an owl it will be earliest winter owl I've managed to track down.

Other reading:
Who's hoo?  The owls of New Jersey 

11/20/2011

Land trust preserves in NJ & PA

If you’re in NJ or PA and looking for some great birding spots make sure to check out the nature preserves managed by the Natural Lands Trust - a non-profit organization that obtains and sustains throughout Southern NJ and Eastern PA. There are two preserves in New Jersey (one in Millville and one in Newport) which are open to the public, free of charge, every day from dawn until dusk. Both of these preserves have been listed as “Important Birding Areas” and there are many birding outlooks on the trails.  

For more info on the NJ and PA preserves check out www.natlands.org

Thanks to Chelsea Mathers for bringing this to my attention!