Monday, December 9, 2013

First Mating of the Owls This Season! [short version]

Monday, December 9, 2013

Here is a quick piece about the owls mating tonight for the first time this breeding season!  I hope to write a longer version out in the foreseeable future.

A little after 5:00pm tonight, Sarah flew to The Jungle Gym Tree By The Overlook Hotel Tree.  She had perched in the tallest of The Trio Conifers with Charles.  Their initial duetting was tempered by mobbing groups of American Crows.  Once the crows vacated the premises, Charles and Sarah began to duet in earnest.  She flew out to this exposed spot and the duet hoots were fast, intense and intimate. I had a perfect view of her but I am also aware that Murphy's Law is a powerful force.  True to form, Sarah, in clear view bobbed her head, possibly checking out potential prey, hooted, defecated, hooted again and flew next to Charles.  Moments later, Charles jumped on top of her and they mated.  I missed the initial mating but was able to catch the end of this always brief encounter. The high-pitched vocalization is made by Sarah.

Charles flew off and hooted for a while before disappearing on me. Sarah flew southwest and I ended up following her hunt for a while.  Without the benefit of hearing her hoot, I found her in six different places that had me cover over a mile on foot.  I often wish I could fly or at least teleport.

Last year, the first mating I observed was on December 7, 2012.  The first matings in 2011 and 2010 were November 26 and 30, respectively.  I have seen other first matings in mid and late December.  I checked my records of last year's breeding season and last year I observed and documented them mating 27 times.  That is a record so far.  Let's see what happens this year!  This is always one of the most exciting and challenging times of the year. Damn cold out there but well worth the time and effort!

Thank you for reading!

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