Owls’ Interest Peaks?

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The nest has piqued the owls’ interest for the last several months, but finally it’s looking like the female is very interested in seeing how the nest would work as a brood spot. She’s been paying a number of visits over the last few days and in each of the last few days has worked on the nest depression and has settled in for at least twenty minutes or so “trying it on for size”. The male was spotted with her yesterday around dusk, and we’re working to review the archives to see what other visits they’ve paid in the last few days.

Last year, about 16 days earlier than this year, the owls were still not in the nest all day every day. The female finally settled in on about the 29th or 30th of December and the first egg was laid on the first day of 2015.

So here’s a quickly edited 7 minutes of tonight’s 25 minute visit. Note at 4 minutes 15 seconds into the video how she prepares to defend the nest from some intruder who swoops up and around the nest. Anyone in the area see what other bird that might have been??

4 Responses

  1. Hello all,
    Regarding the question about “what did the Owl see that made her fluff up to defend the nest?” a careful viewing of the video reveals a lot.

    At the interval between 3:55 and 4:02 on the recording, Ms. GWHO spots something at a distance and turns toward something, orienting herself to face 12:00 in view.
    At 4:13 – 4:14, carefully observe the lake’s surface just above Ms. GWHO’s left ear. You will see the reflection of a larger predatory bird flying. The reflection travels in the direction of the nest. A few seconds later, Ms. Owl adopts a more direct threat posture.

    The entire time between about 4:01 and the 4:15 defensive posture, note that Ms. Owl is a bit more cautious, and fluffs herself somewhat as she observes the approaching large bird. I am guessing that it was a hawk of some type. However, it could have been one of the Bald Headed Eagles that had been visiting the nest.



  2. This nest looks so much more comfortable than last year’s. Her footing last year looked awkward walking over all of the branches laying around.This year it seems much softer when she walks on it. Did you remove some of those branches when you were repairing the camera?

    • Shirley, we didn’t change anything in the nest, other than to do some measurements and make sure everything around it was well secured and set up properly. Interestingly, the owls’ beaks aren’t designed for lifting and carrying, and they really can’t move things around very easily. Witness last year when a fork shaped stick bothered mom for more than a month until she finally was able to move it away. Eagles, on the other hand, can carry vary large sticks to the nest and seem to know how to get them lodged just right between branches to remain locked in place. We saw a lone eagle once or twice, but don’t know whether it brought anything with it to the nest. A lot of the stuff in the nest is pine straw that winds up being blown into the nest and pine cones that drop into the nest. Mom occasionally shreds a pinecone, but we’re not sure whether she’s making nest material or if she really has no other way to deal with it – we’ve got some videos of mom trying to deal with a pinecone back in October with little success!