Sunday, April 4, 2010

Extremely exciting wood shavings cam

This past December, my sweet baby brother made me a screech owl nest box for my barfday. There are screech owls in my neighborhood, and have been for (at least) the nine years I've lived in this house. I hear them almost nightly and I've enjoyed just a few sightings in all those years -- on my neighbor's garage roof, in my linden tree, a few times flying low right over my yard (hunting for small dogs?) They're cute little stubby things - the owls I mean. Wanting to bring them in closer, I decided to put up a nestbox. I don't want to just enjoy them in the area. I want them in MY yard. I want to OWN the screech owls.

From dirt & dogs

We hung the box in late December. Filled it with the particular kind of wood shavings they like. Installed a tiny camera with a wireless feed that displays on the TV. We ran wires down the tree trunk to a water-tight vitamin bottle switch box with a 9 volt battery that operates the camera. And then... we started waiting... and listening... and watching... and growing impatient. I read that the male screech owl starts looking for a nest site around January. He defends an area with multiple nest options until he pairs up with a mate in Jan/Feb, at which point the pair chooses from those options and settles into one spot, laying eggs in or around March.

A few nights after putting the nestbox up, we had prospectors! A (presumably) male sitting on a branch right next to the nestbox around 6pm. I was coming home from a dog walk, walked right under him very quietly and slowly, he looked down at me, stayed there, seemed ok with my presence, and then a big, loud-mufflered truck roared by and he flew off. Since then, we've heard both the regular hooting and the tremolo call they make when they've located a mate, but the box has remained unclaimed. We dejectedly went from referring to the camera as the "owl cam" to calling it the "wood shavings cam." This has been the extremely exciting view afforded by said wood shavings cam for the last few months:

From dirt & dogs

Here's a link to a live barn owl nestbox camera with actual, current ACTION - four little bitty babies, the last of which just hatched on March 28. Maybe it's for the best that we don't have owls, because if this were going on in MY owl box, I wouldn't be able to go to work, the grocery store, the bathroom...

Zeek, too, is obsessed with the owl cam.
From dirt & dogs

~ trina

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