The Next Generation

After more than a year with no owl activity near the nest, my night vision camera caught this barred owl (bottom right portion of top picture) flying toward the new nest box at 5am on March 9th. It landed on the back right side of the roof (second picture) and later perched on top of the camera box behind the lexan predator shield on the other side of the nest. While he  accepted the new nest box as part of his environment, he was too busy hunting to show any interest in entering. Several clues identified him as a one-year-old male:

1. He was only 17 inches long -- females are bigger.

2. He did not stay still for more than five seconds as he twisted, jumped and turned while looking down for prey. Mature owls sit motionless for hours as they scan for prey.

3. When dawn broke, he chased after the first bird that flew by. A barred owl has no chance of catching a small bird in flight.

While it's amazing that the young owl survived the winter with such behavior, his determination should allow him to develop the hunting skills needed to support a family by the time he is three years old. This sighting, along with a neighbor's sighting of an immature barred owl last December, offers hope that barred owls will accept the new nest in the next couple of years. While fishers remains very active in the area, the new nest box appears to be safe and has thwarted even the squirrel's repeated attempts to enter. I will update this page when there is additional activity in the area.

For all of those who have asked to be notified when the OwlCam DVD is available, it is now complete and available for sale on the internet.  Click the Disc on the right for information on the DVD and how it can be purchased.


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