Encouraging Sounds

While the nest box remains empty by day, June has entered it for serious housekeeping six times in the last five nights. The wood chips can be heard bouncing off the walls as she churns them up and rearranges them time after time. In the past five years, this same behavior occurred during the same period in each of the  four years in which nesting occurred, but was absent in 1999 when they did not nest. While I am a bit surprised that I have heard no hooting for almost two weeks, there are many possible explanations that have more to do with perceived threats than nesting plans. The silence may be in response to a great horned owl in the area, or may simply indicate that there are no other barred owls around to challenge them. In either case, I would now place the odds on nesting at better than fifty-fifty. The next two weeks should provide the answer.

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