The Next Generation
|After more than a year with no owl activity
near the nest, my night vision camera caught this barred owl (bottom
right portion of top picture) flying toward the new nest box at 5am on
March 9th. It landed on the back right side of the roof (second picture)
and later perched on top of the camera box behind the lexan predator
shield on the other side of the nest. While he accepted the new
nest box as part of his environment, he was too busy hunting to show any
interest in entering. Several clues identified him as a one-year-old
1. He was only 17 inches long -- females are bigger.
2. He did not stay still for more than five seconds as he twisted, jumped and turned while looking down for prey. Mature owls sit motionless for hours as they scan for prey.
3. When dawn broke, he chased after the first bird that flew by. A barred owl has no chance of catching a small bird in flight.
While it's amazing that the young owl survived the winter with such behavior, his determination should allow him to develop the hunting skills needed to support a family by the time he is three years old. This sighting, along with a neighbor's sighting of an immature barred owl last December, offers hope that barred owls will accept the new nest in the next couple of years. While fishers remains very active in the area, the new nest box appears to be safe and has thwarted even the squirrel's repeated attempts to enter. I will update this page when there is additional activity in the area.
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