Ward's calls have gone unanswered for more than a month. No other owl has been seen or heard in the area since the Cooper's Hawks made their noisy incursion into the owl's roosting area on June 18th. Ward does not expect a response to his wailing call, but is accustomed to hearing June respond to his classic hoot. The cobwebs that can be seen inside the nest box for the first time further attest to June's absence. It is quite possible that she has temporarily wandered out of the area in search of better hunting as barred owls sometimes do during non-nesting season. The two Cooper's Hawks and four owls that hunted here throughout the spring may have put a strain on the food supply that prompted such a move. Nevertheless, Ward sounds a bit lonely as he calls in the night and I'm sure that he looks forward to June's return. Wally and Theodore are not likely to return as they are now much too old to be living with their parents. I have not heard the Cooper's Hawks for several weeks and assume that they have also moved on. Unlike the owls, they are migratory birds that will fly south in the fall and leave the leaner menu that is available in winter to the owls. Ward is seen here on his favorite perch where he spent the day on Friday. By mid-afternoon, he was panting from the 90-degree heat and ready for the severe thunderstorm that rumbled in the distance. As the storm rolled in with its 40 MPH winds, I expected him to take shelter on a lower branch, but he chose to challenge the full fury of the storm from this tree-top perch. The tree swayed to the point of breaking, lightning lit up the skies, and the thunder was deafening as the drenching rain dripped from his feathers. As he shook and preened his wet feathers after the storm, I was again reminded of what a tough and determined character he is.
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