March 3, 2010
Last night I saw one owlet and heard possibly two for the first time this year!! Woo-hoo!!! Seeing owlets for the first time in a year is always exciting but this year it is especially thrilling. Due to some heretofore (by me) unobserved vocalizations and unusual behavior by Sarah, I have been concerned about her health and the subsequent health of her owlets for a little over three weeks now. While I still have my concerns, the mere fact of seeing and hearing an owlet and possibly more is a huge relief.
When I arrived at the owls territory last night, I heard Charles hooting from a new perch spot of hi. While I looked for him I glanced over at the nest. There at the edge of the nest was Sarah. It struck me as a little odd that she was out of the nest well before sunset but she had done that the night before as well. Like the night before, I wondered if this early departure indicated the presence of growing owlets in the snag/hollow thus making space inside limited. This combined with the milder weather might make an early departure from the nest an attractive option for Sarah.
She flew away from the nest to a tree just east of The Nest Tree. I located Charles and watched him hoot and eventually expel a pellet. As I watched Charles, Sarah moved to two other trees each a little further east than the next. She then flew back to the first tree to which she had flown. Charles flew from his perch and landed near Sarah in one of the Salon Trees; what I call the trees where Sarah grooms and expels waste after she leaves the nest. Sarah flew back to The Nest Tree landing on the lower lip of the snag/hollow. She looked inside the snag/hollow and with my binoculars I could see a fluffy grayish-white owlet move through the cracks of the snag/hollow and just above the lower lip of the snag/hollow! I began to hear faint but unmistakable owlet begging cheeps as well.
I took out my video camera and shot the below video. While I was filming I heard a begging cheep, closely followed by another such that it may have been a second owlet.
Sarah stayed in the nest for a few more minutes before leaving the nest once more. More occurred in the evening including a dramatic owl/squirrel face off but I have sign off for now. Thanks for reading!