Oldest Owlet “Displays” To Crows

Developmental milestone – our partners at Cornell Lab of Ornithology just posted this video and provided the following explanation of threat displays as our older owlet demonstrates!

In this clip we see the older owlet bill-clapping at some rather noisy American Crows. In both adults and older young, at least 3 forms of threat displays grade into one another. In the clip we see a mild threat-display. Mild threat displays consist of agitated bill-clapping, hissing, occasional low, drawn-out screams, and other guttural noises. A behavior we have have seen from Mom and not the owlets yet is a second level threat consisting of fully spread wings arching in a ‘wall’ towards an intruder, this posture has also been accompanied by bill-clapping and hissing.

We have not yet seen a third threat level consisting of spread wings, bill-clapping, hissing, high pitched screams for a long duration, feet are also poised to strike.

This camera livestream is a partnership between the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Skidaway Audubon.

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2 Responses

  1. My thanks to all who put up the cams to view the owls, great stuff!

    I don’t use any social media so I have to ask my questions here if someone can answer them for me.

    1/ Are we watching the owlets on the cam that is held onto the tree with the pressure treated lumber?
    2/ The larger camera, the Xstream one, is for what purpose?
    3/ Is the light source for night viewing, that black panel device under and to the side of the large camera?
    4/ What spectrum of light is it? It doesn’t bother the birds at all, so I am guessing it’s in a range they can’t see.
    5/ Does the male ever sit on the nest or just bring in food?
    6/ How do I tell the male from the female?
    7/ I worry that the one owlet is larger than the other, it’s be great if they both survive.

    Thank you from Lancaster, Pa. I am also watching the Bald Eagles in Hanover, Pa. about 30 miles from here.


    • The pt lumber camera mount held a fixed camera that was knocked out by lightning – twice and isn’t being replaced this year. The Xstream housing is a “smart” device that houses a small unix computer, ethernet switch various power supplies. It protects the Sony camera from the elements, sequences the startup of equipment, enables remote monitoring of the equipment, keeps track of temp, controls fans, etc. The light source is infrared (IR) low wavelength light that turns on and off autonomously and automatically via a light sensor that senses the sun going down. Only the female has a “brood patch” which is an area with few feathers and high vascularity to keep the eggs and the chicks warm, so the male just brings food to the nest or to a nearby tree. Thankfully, the two parents are great hunters and seem to have no problems keeping the growing chicks well fed. The two siblings seem to enjoy the warmth and company of each other, and there’s plenty to eat. There’s no way to tell the male and the female apart except by observing their roles. Female GHO’s tend to be about 1/3 larger than the males, but when we see the two together while deciding on a nest or while brooding, the male is the one who brings food and the female is the one who broods over the eggs.