The Melton Team Barred Owls
Barred Owls 2018
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May 5, 2018: They are both still alive and well!!!
They are both about two acres away from our yard, so the picture is at full zoom. They seem very sure footed. They both kind of hop down long branches like a lemur. I saw one of them fly like a chicken about 20 feet. As agile as they looked, I can't imagine that they couldn't defend themselves at this point. Yeah!!!!!
November and December 2016: Bryant was desperately trying to finish up the owl house. There were pieces of cedar scraps all over the family room! We kind of figured it would be a little late. Barred owls can nest as early as January or February, so the end of December was cutting it really close! We followed all of the directions from the Cornell site and had it mounted by the tree climbers that come to trim the trees. They added the bedding and cleared a few branches that hung near the opening. Time to wait and watch!!
January and February 2017: we didn't see anything near the box except for a few little birds kind of peeking in. It was very disappointing after all that hard work. At the very least, we had a cool looking (vacant) owl house in our backyard. It looked neat among the trees and the lake.
Early Spring 2017: We saw a squirrel carrying a huge branch up a tree and right into the box!! The squirrel packed it full ... all the way to the opening. So much for the bedding! The owlet ladder inside? Useless! :( In all seriousness, we actually had a lot of fun watching the squirrel make a home. It would hang out of the opening after a long day, sprawled upside down, asleep! So happy to be in this luxury squirrel condo! Before long came squirrel number two! They chased each other all over, wrestled around and ... well ... I think you get where this is going ...
Mid-Spring 2017: Seems like there were 4 squirrels in a matter of days! Now, we have a full house!! The two babies were wild as they could be! I don't know how they didn't fall out of the tree, but they were INSANE!! :) It was funny to watch all of the happenings day after day.
Late Summer 2017: Not a lot happening in the squirrel house! I can't imagine what it smelled like inside! Yuck! We happened to be outside trying to get some pictures of the owls. They were on the other side of the property. They are very hard to spot in the summer, when the leaves are on the trees. They always fly from tree to tree, one at a time, right around dusk. One of the owls flew across the back deck and in front of the owl house!! It was so exciting!! Bryant started changing camera setting really quickly to see if he could get a high speed shot. The other owl came flying across and we were not prepared! We snapped as fast as we could any ways! Ended up with a cool shot, but it's just not very focused. Still a very cool picture to get.
Late Fall 2017: We had the first falling of leaves removed and a few branches trimmed. If you've ever visited us, you'll know the branches from all the big trees are never ending. You're either going to trim some of them, or they'll fall on your head, house or cars! While the tree climbers were here, we had them change the bedding out just in case. We were resigned to have a nice squirrel house in the trees, but there is always a little bit of hope that maybe one day ...
January 2018: OMG, OMG, OMG!!!! Get the camera!!!!! I start shooting with my little camera as fast as I can just in case we missed it. We did, but I got some shots (very far away) of the owls peeking in the house and sitting on the perch!! How exciting!!! They haven't moved in yet as far as we know, but you can bet we'll have the camera ready if they do!!
January 30, 2018: There is a squirrel right back in the owl house! :( The owls are very active right now. I want to tell them, there is an all you can eat squirrel buffet in their house ...
April 02, 2018: The Owls are living in the house! Yeah!!!! We froze our tails off sitting by the camera for almost 4 hours. Ordered pizza. Just about dusk, we were getting ready to pack up and take the few little photos we had of the top of the owls head. And then ... The owl came out!!! It was so fast but we got a shot or two!
April 26, 2018: At first we thought there was only one chick in the nest. Then there were two!! Pretty exciting! We've given them names, Mongo and BeepBeep. Mongo's head is huge compared to BeepBeep! In the past two weeks they've gone from just peeking out of the opening to sitting in it. Now, they are constantly fighting over who gets to sit in there. One of them keeps sticking a foot down to try and get on the perch. Looks like it is checking to see if the water is too cold in the pool! :)
April 29, 2018: A lot has happened over the past couple of days ...
We went outside at about 7pm and there were 3 owlets!!!! One was on the roof! We weren't there 10 mins and Mongo starts climbing the tree. We're looking at each other like what-the-fooey?! :) He kept climbing higher and higher and it kept getting darker and darker. He was at least 30 feet above the nest which is 22 feet off the ground. One missed step and down he went ... upside down with his wings half tucked ... it made a loud noise. By that time, we couldn't see the ground, but we did see the mom swoop in and heard a bunch of rustling around. I was really worried and went to sit on one of our retaining walls to see if I could see anything. The mom flew up to a tree about 10 feet from my head. I said, "looks like you got this ..." and went back inside. :)
April 30, 2018: We are learning as we go ...
Mongo stayed in the canopy of a tree all day. The mom came to feed him a couple of times. She rips up whatever she brings and leaves it on a branch for him. Sadly, Chingy was taken by a red-shouldered hawk. It was awful! I saw the dad fly through the trees very fast and low. I went up to see what he was doing and there was the dad, chingy and three hawks in a tree. The hawks were going crazy, making tons of noise. The dad was clacking his beak and making the low noise they make. The dad and baby flew off. Two hawks chased the dad and the other one grabbed the baby owl. It went to the ground and I ran over to it, but it flew away with the baby up to a branch and started eating it alive. It was so horrible!! The owlet didn't make any noise. Very sad. No sign of BeepBeep yet, although I see the owl in two separate spots, which makes me think she's still alive! The leaves are getting thick and it is hard to see.
May 1, 2018: No idea what's going on, really ...
Mongo is still in the canopy of the tree. I saw the mom come feed him once. Still no sign of BeepBeep. I still see the mom flying back and forth to two areas, which makes me think she's still alive! The leaves are so thick, you can't see anything. I guess we'll have to wait and hope we see them as they begin to fly.