February 25, 2023
When I posted on December 24, 2022 about Virginia, Charles's new mate, and how she was nesting, I had no idea that this would be the last day I would see Virginia. The complete lack of observations of Virginia for over two months now and the progression of Charles's behavior in this time makes it all to clear that Virginia has died. We do not know if she became ill or was injured and we are so far unable to check the nest for any possible insights into her demise. Adding sadness to sadness, without being incubated and rotated by Virginia, the eggs she began to lay in mid-December did not make it either. After the excitement of a new mate and the start of nesting with the hope of owlets, the loss of Virginia and her eggs is a very sad development. As always though, life continues on. Charles has been courting with a new female for well over a month now. The window for mating and nesting has closed for this year but I hope that this courtship is the draft phrase of a new chapter with a new mate for Charles.
On December 24, I went to the owls' territory and quickly found Virginia in the nest.
Virginia nested in a frequently used nest site. Sarah first nested in this site in 2008 having three owlets-Bart, Lisa and Maggie- and then again in 2012 with two owlets-Christopher and Velvet. Samantha nested there valiantly but unsuccessfully in 2020. Sophie nested in this hollow successfully in 2021 with two owlets-Neil and Lyle and again in 2022 with two more owlets-Betty and Sidney.