April 14, 2014

Owl Update :: There You are Regal Fella!




There were six days of no owl sightings, no familiar trills in the evening, nothing.  I was sure something horrible had happened.  I fretted and pondered, coming up with all kinds of ill fated scenarios. 

A few days ago while glancing up into the branches of the windmill palm I was rewarded with the sight of the male perched proud and regal.  I love his new digs as I can catch quick glimpses of him as I work around the garden.  He sits high above the garden within clear sight of the box and his mate.   I'm wondering if he changed the location of his perch because the photinia (in my neighbor's yard) bloomed and smelled to high heaven? 

The female has been noticeably absent.  I'm guessing she is now sitting on the eggs.  She emerges for brief moments to gather some fresh air and then she tucks back into the nest. 

From The Owl Pages:

Owls lay between one and thirteen eggs, depending on the species and also on the particular season; for most, however, three or four is the more common number. The eggs are rounded and white; there is little need for cryptic markings given the concealed nature of most nest sites, and the vigor with which they are defended. Incubation of the eggs usually begins when the first one is laid, and lasts, in most species, for around thirty days. During incubation, the eggs are rarely left alone. Female owls, like many other birds, develop a sparsely feathered area on their bellies called a brood patch. The almost bare skin has a higher density of blood vessels than other parts of the skin, providing a direct source of warmth when in contact with the eggs.

Momma owl is going to be putting that brood patch to good use the next couple of days.  We're experiencing a late cold front.  It's raining as I type (yay!) and the north wind is howling.  Lows are expected in the 30's-40's tonight depending on location.  My garden is usually a few degrees colder than the central city.  I'll be covering a few plants just in case. 

There's never a dull moment in a Texas garden.






6 comments:

  1. He is regal--my male is in a Mt. Laurel, adjacent to the oak tree where Mama and babies are. I'm just like you--if I don't hear or see them during winter and spring, I worry and fret about their welfare. So far, all is good with my owl family. So lucky are we to host these beautiful birds in our gardens.

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  2. We don't have an owl box but used to hear owls trilling nearly every night. We haven't heard any for weeks though and I've been fretting something awful happened to them. Now I'm wondering if they simply found new digs further away, just out of our hearing. I'm going with that theory and happy to know I can always drop in here and get HRH owl "sightings" aplenty.

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  3. Cold even in Texas--wow! We're pretty chilly up here in Wisconsin, but that's more common for us in April than for you. Weird winter and early spring. How fun to have an owl family taking up residence! They're amazing birds!

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  4. Love this, Cat. You remind me of myself... I get stressed when I don't see our Quail couples every day. They just arrived last week, this is our third year to enjoy them. Expecting babies in a few weeks. Isn't nature grand?

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  5. Hooray for still being there! So happy you're getting rain! Those owls are too smart to move out of your garden. Life there is just too good. :o)

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  6. I can't believe you got such a beautiful shot of this gorgeous creature in the daytime!! You must be thrilled with their presence, Cat. I know I'm thrilled following them with you :)

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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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