May 30, 2012

Eastern Screech Owls ~ A Party at Casa de Cat


The day has come, sadly.  The screech owls left the box last night.  But oh what a party they had!  And oh how they surprised us!

Picture the four of us tightly perched on a twin size bed, faces pressed to the window, watching as one of the owlets appeared only to be pushed from the box by another owlet trying to get a better view.  We stared with rapt attention and rapidly beating hearts, wondering what would happen to this now vulnerable baby.

Fortunately, my husband placed the box in such a way that there is a limb where the owlets can perch directly below the opening of the box.  The momma flew in with what appeared to be a baby rodent, surveyed the situation, didn't seem too concerned then hovered at the opening to feed the nesting babies. 

Yes, I said babies...there are four!  Steadily, with the exception of one, we watched as the others bailed from the box.  We fretted, cooed and marveled as if they were our own offspring!

By this time, it was dark but I managed to get a {quite blurry} photo of the four of them.

The antics of these four cuties was so entertaining!  We watched for a good hour.  Three were out and exploring their expanded world while one unsure squirt hung back and watched from the safety of the box.

One bold fellow lost it's footing and fell from the perch, landing among the elephant ear.  My husband exclaimed that the leaf actually caught and slowed the fall.  That demonstrates just how light they are.  My daughter and I ventured outside to see if it was okay.  We tip-toed around in the dark, scanning the beds to no avail.  We stopped near one of the trees and I jumped when I realized the owlet was clinging to the side of the tree trunk at waist level!  My daughter was a mere 12 inches from the baby!


In my excitement I snapped a photograph.  In hindsight, I probably shouldn't have.  My daughter and I wondered at how the light from the camera may have bothered it's eyes.  I hope not too much.  It had a lot of work ahead of it to get back up into the canopy of the tree.  It was a straight, vertical ascent.

At this writing, two juveniles are with the momma roosting high in the oak, while at least one is still in the box.  I'm not sure if the fourth is in the box or off with the papa...I haven't seen either of them today. 


The indistinguishable gray fuzzies behind her are the babies. 


Last one in the house?  Oh, have I mentioned how much I'm going to miss these guys?

Here is a great link for detailed information on their habits.




28 comments:

  1. speaking of CUTE!! and i just cannot get over how beautifully red the mom is!

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  2. Hi Cat, It has been truly wonderful to follow the happenings in your little owl house. Who would believe that 4 baby owls and a parent managed to all squeeze in there.
    Babies of any kind are adorable and these little guys are so sweet. I hope the fourth little guy will be okay.

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  3. They are SO cute!
    How lucky to get to watch this.

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  4. It's fantastic to look at these beautiful young owls. Yours.

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  5. It feels like we could all be there with you! Thanks so much for keeping us posted the whole time! I am gonna miss those cuties, too. How much longer do you think they are gonna stay?

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  6. You've told an amazing story told with equally amazing photos. I'll miss them too!

    You might need more owl houses next year.

    Thank you so much for sharing all this detail.

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  7. Love those owls of yours. No worries, another couple will be back to raise more owlets.
    An owl house is most definitely on my wish list for the backyard.

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  8. I'm going to miss your owl stories, too. It's so great that you were able to see this right in your own yard. How forward-thinking of your husband to position the house just so. I love their faces, they're so expressive!

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  9. You had me excited at your post!!! I have loved following your babies:) They are absolutely gorgeous and I wish them luck. After they make that first step, Mom and Dad will be watching their every move as their backlegs get stronger....These are really beautiful owls and I hope they all survive and come back again for another round later on. Really cool stuff you've captured here. Thanks for sharing!

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  10. Great recap! I still can't believe you had four owlets!

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  11. Thanks so much for detailing the owlet development! They certainly are cute little things.

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  12. What a fun saga this has been---they are so adorable.

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  13. So freaking cute - I too would become obsessed if I had owlets in my yard...

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  14. Amazing owls again...the story about how close you all got to one at night is something else. Some day, I'll build something for the owls around here.

    Or is your place "Casa Catalina" (Casa Catarina in Italian)?

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  15. Oh Cat what an honor you have had with these little ones...I remember how sad I was when the robins left the nest last year and I was able to watch them and the reluctant fledgling...thx for sharing such a unique experience with us...wow

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  16. How wonderful for you to get the opportunity to watch all of these events unfold.

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  17. What a wonderful experience for your family. And kind of you to share these owls with us.

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  18. Awww, sweet! I love the name "Casa de Cat." "The Owls at Casa de Cat" sounds like a great title for a children's book.

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  19. Oh, they are just so cool! What a neat experience to have this going on right outside your window. :)

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  20. Those owl pics are just awesome! You should send them to birds and blooms magazine.

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  21. Am so happy that you have had this privilege to observe those pretty owls... photos were excellent... as you mentioned, they might have been affected by the light from your camera... come to think of it, when I shoot underwater pictures, the fishes must have been affected by the flash lights too...

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  22. Oh how exciting! I would miss them, too. I have watched songbird fledglings in the same way...it is an adventure. I am glad you shared the photos...they are so cute!

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  23. I've loved this series. I hope they return to the roost again!

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  24. What a great story, Cat ! I think I would have joined you watching that episode - watching an event like this unfold literally in front of you. Great shots - loved the one where you (inadvertently) surprised the little guy making his way back home - not sure who was more surprised. I can see why you'll miss them.

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  25. Oh, I just now saw this post - and how exciting!!! What great pictures. I bet they will come back again next year, too. You have been a great hostess!

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Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind.
"Pooh!" he whispered.
"Yes, Piglet?"
"Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's paw. "I just wanted to be sure of you."
~A.A. Milne

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