May 21, 2014

Owl Update: Pass the Cigars and the Kleenex




Today was the first sighting of a baby.  We won't be sure how many are in the box unless fortunate enough to see them leaving the nest.  The last brood we hosted had four young!

Sadly we haven't seen or heard the momma since Sunday evening.  Daily perched on the arbor in clear sight of the box, she vigilantly watched the goings on of the backyard. The poppa continues to sit in the photinia which also gives a clear view of the nest.  At dusk he leaves his roost to feed the young alone.


Momma (photo taken the Friday before she disappeared)

I fear she was prey to a great horned owl. My husband heard their nearby calls Sunday night when he was out in the yard with our dog.  I hope I'm wrong and she is just well hidden but given that I haven't heard her either, I fear the worst.

As my daughter says, they've all got babies with their beaks open and they've all got to eat.  She's right.  Still, I'm heartbroken.





17 comments:

  1. So sad about Momma Owl. Since Papa's feeding alone, you're probably right that something happened to her. Your daughter is also right that it's all part of the cycle, but still, it's sad. Hope the babies do well and you get to see them fledge.

    ReplyDelete
  2. That's the trouble with wildlife; it behaves in wild and uncivilised ways. But even so rather more civilised than some of the human population.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am sorry to hear the Momma owl has gone missing. I want to believe there is some other explanation than her falling prey to a larger neighbor up the chain a link or two but if she felt her young were at risk I bet she would do whatever necessary to draw a predator away from her nesting young. Because that's just what Mommas do. When/if they can.

    I'd love to have an owl nesting box in our yard but a neighbor's ongoing response to rodents in their attic spaces (poison) means we cannot safely do so. That said, because we don't have owls nesting in our yard, we have both squirrels and white tailed dove nests in our tallest trees. And I'm sure both are subject to owl predation. It is simply too easy for me to forget that any Great Circle of Life is simultaneously a Circle of Death.

    ReplyDelete
  4. It's difficult when this happens (if it has actually happened), especially when there is a connection like you have from watching them every year. I found two dead chicks (unknown type) yesterday morning and the first thing I did was check all of the nests of "my birds" -- the ones I've been watching for weeks. (Nobody checks the mouse or lizard dens, do they?)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh no..I didn't no owls ate other owls. Somehow that seems wrong. Perhaps she'll turn up.

    ReplyDelete
  6. How sad :( At least Daddy is taking care of business.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Oh no! That would be so sad :( Hopefully the chicks will be well taken care of by the Daddy and maybe start some families of their own in and around your yard. They are so unbelievably cute!

    ReplyDelete
  8. How sad! We have robins in our front yard and there were three babies this spring. One left the nest early and was never seen again. We watched the other two for almost a week. Made me very sad. My kids said *Circle of life, Mom* . . . I totally understnad. I am sad as well, and sad for you!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Such a bittersweet post Cat :( I can't enough of your owls and I completely understand your devastation at what appears to be mamma owl's fate. Maybe she is hiding somewhere. You can only hope...

    ReplyDelete
  10. Your "owl watch" is so much fun. I do hope the momma is OK. They are such amazing birds!

    ReplyDelete
  11. So sorry to hear about Mama. I always fret during owl mating/rearing season--so many thing out there to get them. I hope Dad finds enough to feed four hungry young'uns. I hope you get to watch them for a few more days!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I am hoping for a happy ending. The baby is so adorable.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I'm hoping for a happy ending, too. We become so attached to the wild creatures that choose our gardens.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Adorable owl chick! I really hope Momma comes home. Your photos are stunning.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Oh Cat I hope she returns but it seems unlikely given she has been gone so long...but what a great pappa to continue to raise his young ones.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Replies
    1. No, Sarah. She never came back :( There were three littles and the dad continued to feed and care for them. They left the box last Wednesday and I haven't seen any of them since last Friday. They've gone off to conquer the world!

      Delete

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

Thanks for taking the time to visit!