Winter Escape

jan18_1.jpg (11700 bytes)An owl entered the nest box in daylight today for the first time in more than six months. As with last year's off-season visits, it only stayed long enough to escape the jays and crows that pursued it. The three wooden strips that can be seen under the doorway are an improved owlet ladder that I installed in October. Each strip has a quarter-inch groove in its top surface that should be easier for future owlets to grip. The difficulties that Wally and Theodore had with the old owlet ladder inspired this change. This adult used it to climb out of the nest box without the wing flapping that was required last year.
jan18_xl1.jpg (15814 bytes)After climbing out of the nest box, the owl spent a couple of minutes glaring and snapping at the jays and crows as it is seen doing here. It then flew away with only a couple of jays left to pursue it. The primary result of this harassment is to limit the owl's ability to hunt in the daytime by alerting any potential prey. I assume that the snow and ice that we have experienced for the last few days have hindered nighttime hunting and forced the owls to extend their efforts into daylight. I believe that this is June, but cannot always distinguish her from Ward unless I see them together.

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