Sunday, April 3, 2011
I ran into my new owl/park friends Nicki and Jim Dwyer the other day and they were thrilled to see the now-fledged owlets, Dalton and Monica, as well as the owlets' parents, Charles and Sarah. Seeing the owlets inspired Nicki to write a great post on her blog about the sighting and to organize two more owl prowls. Thanks, Nicki!! The last of these two prowls is this coming Saturday, April 9. More information about the prowl and Nicki's excellent post can be found here. Many thanks, Nicki! I should also note that Jim is one of several folks who have happily succumbed to owl addiction this year. Well done, Jim!
Now that the owlets have fledged they are getting increasingly more active. For owlets of their age and stage I am impressed with how good their landings are. They still have a long way to go before they reach adult prowess and not just in landings but they are off to a great start.
One activity in which owlets often seem to engage is Follow The Leader. One owlet will fly to one branch and the other owlet(s) will follow suit. Here are two videos, in order, showing Dalton and Monica doing this on Thursday, March 28, 2011. In the first video, Dalton flies to a new perch.
In the second video, Monica joins in and doesn't meet with complete success or failure.
On Sunday, March 27, I led an owl prowl for Sally Topping and family along with my owl/park friend Brenda Hente (another new owl addict-bravo!). We followed Sarah and the owlets out to The Bushy Tree. It was the first time seeing these owlets in this tree, which is often a favorite tree for the owls to use during the summer. We had a great view of them as The Bushy Tree is still pretty bare and not thickly leafed out as it will be this summer. As we watched them, the owlets began to allopreen each other. Allopreening is the term for mutual grooming. I have only seen this behavior a few times over the years so it was great to see it and capture it on video.
In his great book Owls of the United States and Canada, the naturalist and photographer Wayne Lynch describes how allopreening is thought to have social and health benefits. The mutual grooming may enforce bonds between individuals be they a mated pair, siblings or parents and offspring. Allopreening also lets the groomee, if you will, have areas groomed that it cannot otherwise reach. In this same book, Lynch also has a great photo of a female Great Horned Owl being groomed by one of its owlets.
Thanks for reading!