Tag Archives: barn owls

It’s all about the wings…

Nearing the end of their stay in our box, the owlets are climbing with great care to the top. 

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Against the backdrop of other winged creatures,

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flexing their wings,

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retreating to security inside

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or flying into the night.

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I am reminded of a quote given to each of our adult children with a copy of the family history:

‘Every child deserves two things:  one is roots, the other is wings.’

We have provided roots – a barn owl box made of 100 year old barn wood – and their parents have given them wings – literally and figuratively!   God speed little ones!

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Filed under Family history, Nature

Meanwhile back at the ranch…episode 25

Admittedly less attentive than in past years, we have fretted about the barn owls.  The usual chirping sounds as they fly have been absent; a silhouette atop the owl box missing in the twilight of the evening. 

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Listening for them, we have heard, in the distance,  the hooting of the Great Horned Owl also native to these parts, a natural predator of our owls.  

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Have the barn owls moved on to a safer domain, leaving our box uninhabited for this season???

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Working this past week to clear the wedding path behind the hedge, I imagined (heard?) ever so slight noises coming from the box. 

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Dedicating my labors to making their surroundings as enticing as possible, I vowed to sit outside that evening from the first hint of dusk until I could no longer see the box in the dark…watching…listening…

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and…they came in the twilight!!!…one swooping in silently over the yard, wings at full spread, the other from over the field.  BUT, flying directly into the box – no silent contemplation on the roof as in years past…AND they are quiet, no chirping to announce their arrival.  Are these simply a different pair with their own behavior pattern, OR could the hoot owls be causing them to keep a lower profile this year???  I wish we could communicate – I would ask.

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Actually, I choose to think that we do communicate in a fashion:  the next morning a ‘thank you’ left under the box…perhaps in appreciation of my efforts with the landscape!

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*Great Horned Owl:  photo of reproduction of The Original Water-Color Paintings by John James Audubon for The Birds of America

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Filed under Exteriors, Nature

Meanwhile back at the ranch…episode 24

waiting…

purest white against greening meadow grass, the egret enjoys good hunting…

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remnants of last years owl meals cleaned away, replaced with new shavings…

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last night’s sunset silhouettes the waiting box…

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the past two Januarys have provided our first sightings of new occupants for the owl box…today is the 29th…will they appear…???

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drawing from

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Filed under Nature, Seasons

Flown

Though no longer providing shelter, the owl box has now become a favorite landing spot along with the nearest oak tree.  Regular take offs and landings take place each evening, lasting well into the night with all the accompanying chatter of youngsters at play.

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With the moon inching its way toward fullness over the last few nights,

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we have been treated to amazing views of white heart-shaped faces atop the box, swiveling in search of dinner.

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Next day, the ground below the box is salted with white, downy feathers.

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What fate awaits the gopher foolish enough to surface so near the box…???

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Filed under Garden, Nature

Overcrowding at the Wolery!

An update on happenings at the Wolery is long overdue!

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My last report on March 30 was one of cautious optimism: this year’s owl couple was still in residence…much has happened since!!!

Not only one owl…

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but three…and a fourth caught poking its head out in this light-enhanced photo!!!

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Now imagine four owls atop the box, a fifth head emerging…and a sixth flying by delivering dinner…the menu:  a largish rat dangling by its tail!!

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Our evenings are filled with the sights and sounds of their comings and goings; our dreams interrupted by the fledglings crash-landing on the roof of our house while perfecting their flying skills.  One morning before dawn, a crash…I turned to see a big baby gripping the muntins of the family room window after flying into the glass – not so hard to understand when I realized the Wolery can be seen clearly from that spot through the other side of the house.  As if to underscore the overcrowding in the box, apparently I interrupted a nap in the oak tree as I gardened today, then watched an owl fly off to a more distant tree.

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Postcard from the Wolery

 Heartbroken last year on March 14, finding a broken egg on the ground below the box, we have been tentative with the barn owls this year…perhaps not wanting to become too attached. 

Occasionally leaving lovely reminders of their presence,

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they remain in residence.  Last evening at dusk they were particularly noisy, inviting us to come out to watch their flurry of comings and goings from the box.  With hope in our hears we wait to see…………..

‘grief is the price we pay for love’

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Postcard from the owl box

still watching for owls………….

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not Northern Flickers!!!!

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Meanwhile back at the ranch…episode 24

Reveling in the recent rains and lovely sunshine, mustard is once again blooming in the field;

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we are on owl-watch…just a year since we welcomed our first owl couple to the Wolery… then mourned their abrupt mid-March departure

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Not quite what we were looking for,…..today, an egg shell from the distant compost pile,

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probably deposited atop the box by this visitor

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for a mid-morning snack.

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– fly-overs by potential occupants, yes……..none have crossed the threshold, yet –

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– we wait hopefully, if not patiently

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Decorations by Ernest H. Shepard

The House at Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne

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Update from the Wolery…episode 16f

I had so hoped to continue on into spring with updates on a thriving family of barn owls; sadly, it seems not to be.  Since finding cracked egg shells on the path under the box several days ago,

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we have not seen the owls approach the box.  Although they have flown by several times, now the melancholy tone of their calls can be heard only in the distance.  We plan to continue our vigil for several more evenings, hoping for the best,

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before opening the door at the back of the box to clean and put down new wood shavings for future occupants.

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They will be missed…………

Illustrations by E. H. Shepard

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Filed under Art, Exteriors, Nature, Seasons

Update from the Wolery…episode 16d

Our owls have radically changed their routine!  For just over a month they have delighted us with their comings and goings, chatter, and graceful flight each night.  As dusk has arrived on the last two evenings they have been absent.  Not to engage in hyperbole, but this almost feels like waiting for a late teenager out with the car……..  Watching until dark the first evening, we blamed their absence on the wind that had picked up just at dusk.  Thankfully, during the night we heard their raspy call as they flew past our bedroom windows.  Last evening we repeated the same vigil in the stillness, without wind – surely they would be back to the old routine.  Watching again, this time until well after dark………..nothing!  Upstairs, several hours later, we heard them loudly proclaiming their presence as they both flew in to sit atop the box.  The emotion…..relieved that they are home or annoyed that they made us worry…………

perhaps if they left a note explaining their schedule….

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I think I will put out some writing materials….

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Illustration by E.H. Shepard

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