March 13, 2022
After being single for over nine month since Danielle disappeared in mid-March 2020, Charles courted and became a pair with a new female named Sophie in January 2021. She nested in the same nest that Danielle used in 2020 and Sarah used in 2008 and 2012. They had two owlets named Neil and Lyle. It was so exciting to see owlets for the first time since Charles and Sarah's last pair, Grace and Harold, in 2015!
Sadly, Lyle died on June 29 from a double-whammy of a bacterial and viral infection. This was the first time I have seen an owlet die and it was very sad and tough. I am most grateful to the World Bird Sanctuary for the necropsy they performed and the St. Louis Zoo for the tissue analysis they did. If so moved, please donate to the World Bird Sanctuary here: and/or to the St. Louis Zoo here.
Thankfully, Neil soldiered on and finally dispersed on November 2011. In the meantime, we saw very little of Sophie for most of the summer and the first half of the fall Sophie was not found on June 26-30. Lyle died on June 29. Sophie not found July 1-3 but found to our great relief on July 4. Sophie was only found on 5 nights in July, 1 night only in August, just 2 nights in September and not seen October 1-20!!
After Sophie was not seen for most of the summer and the first part of the fall, my records indicate that on September 24 Charles was in the nest hollow of the now 08-11-20-21-22 Nest Tree and that Sophie was in The Middle Tree. They had a long duet until Neil gave a vivid display of duettus interruptus. After almost of no sign of Sophie for the next few weeks, my records show that on October 21, Charles had a long duet with a female-most likely Sophie. On October 29 a female was found in The Middle Tree. On October 30 when Charles had moved to The Double Aught Tree a female was heard once to the south.
November 3 was that amazing and crazy night of finding a female in The Wooded Area and she and Charles duetted and the intruding male was nearby and their was much interaction with him. If that was not enough, 2 Barred Owls began to duet in the other portion of The Successional Woods aka North Korea. To cap it all off Charles and the female mated on this night-the earliest mating I have ever observed. In early November we had a pretty even mix of observing the female and not finding her. On November 9 we started to observe her every night and she began her residency in The Overlook Hotel on November 15.
With Sophie's long absence (and other factors) we were not sure if this female was Sophie or a new mate. I have never had this much difficulty identifying one owl and especially for so long! I have also never had a mate all but disappear for over three-and-a-half months!! Just yesterday, I made the call (and leaving the window open that I am wrong) that the female IS indeed Sophie! I want to thank all of you for your patience, analysis, discussion, observation and documentation during this challenging, confusing but stimulating time.
Last but not least Charles and Sophie have two owlets! They are seven weeks old and cute as the Dickens! Please say hello to Betty and Sidney! They are named after Betty White & Sidney Poitier! If you come to Forest Park to see them, please keep a far, healthy and respectful distance from them & Sophie. And Charles! Here are some recent photos of Charles, Sophie, Betty and Sidney! Enjoy and thank you! :)