Posts Tagged ‘owl’

Screech Owl Update

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

Several weeks ago I blogged about an Screech Owl Tragedy in my backyard.  On my 6 (or was it 60th) call to Busch Wildlife Sanctuary, almost a month after bringing it in, I finally got an update on the Eastern (red morph) Screech Owl that I brought them. The owl had a severe traumatic injury of its right wing and unfortunately it was euthanized shortly after I brought it in. I was told that the State (of Florida) “no longer allows amputations” of birds wings above a certain location.

I appreciate all the well wishes I have received and it is probably for the best as I knew that the  bird was beyond any hope of freedom ever again. It is good to know, however that the 2 babies are doing fine. Ellen, from Wildlife Resource Center of the Palm Beaches, has been returning my calls ever faithfully and tells me that the 2 are doing great, eating up a storm and are on track to be released in several week

Still No Vacancies

Monday, May 10th, 2010

SY birds are still looking for homes as I have noticed several birds tonight trying, in vane to be let into a gourd. One continues to sleep on the porch of the Sunset Inn martin house and a couple flew off into the dark. A SY female tried in vane to get into about 5 gourds which was not received well. Fighting and pecking and bickering ensued. The poor girl was determined and I am not sure where she ended up.

Though some SY males have succeeded in winning over a handful of gourds, all but 2 of my 31 gourds have eggs or babies.

I drive by several know locations of vacant purple martin housing and see no evidence of martins and know that just some minor tweaking of the location of the house is all that stands in the way of quite a few folks getting martins. After 2 seasons now of mailing fliers to neighborhood wannabe landlords, I have only heard back from a handful.

In the meantime, I continue to turn away purple martins into the night. I could put up another rack next year but I would much rather show a few how to turn their empty martin houses into active colonies.

Other bird news brings 2 fledgling Mockingbirds fluttering about the yard, a family of Common Grackles that I am not sure where they are nesting and a recently fledged Red Tailed hawk being shown the gourd racks this morning by its mother. Sadly a pair of Greater Crested Flycatchers is nowhere to be seen after they started nesting in the recently vacated Screech Owl box. I believe a Horned Owl returned to the box as I found a large Owl feather clinging to the front of the nest box the same day the Flycatchers disappeared. Now to fashion Owl guards for that nest box.


Saturday, May 16th, 2009

Purple Martins on Nestcam gourd #11 have fledged!

It is official, they are flying around like maniacs. A bit unsteady but apparently without incident. The Nestcam was so dirty that it was hard to make out who was even in the gourd. I finally brought myself to lower the rack and in doing so flushed out a few straggler fledglings from gourds #11 and 12 but it had to be done. At approx 31 days old, I knew they would be fine. The Nestcam is now cleaned off and on gourd #4 which needs a watchful eye as I have not seen daddy helping and mom seems to be taking her time with feedings. The babies did not seem as plump as I would like and they seemed a bit bony so I will be watching this gourd closely to make sure that they are getting enough to eat.

Two of the nests are down right nasty and if it were not for a clutch of new eggs in gourd #8 (a renest attempt) I would have done a nest change. This was the first nest check for the numbered gourd rack in over a week so a complete check was long overdue. But to do a full nest check and then do a nest change also would take too much time. The nastiest of the nests is due to fledge within a week so I am considering leaving it be. OR I may go out tomorrow and bring the rack down and change the nesting material. I hate the thought of them in that mess.

Under the lettered gourd rack, I found a dead nestling. Approx 4 days old and it had been dead quite some time. It came from gourd H and the other 5 nestlings in the gourd seemed fine. The are about 8 days old. I will never know what was the cause. An SY male perhaps or just a case of natural death and the parents cleaning house. 

I am unable to check the telescopic pole as the nestlings in the aluminum Sunset Inn house are ready to fledge at any time.

In other news: There is lots of racoon feces on our patio and I am starting to get more nervous. A flicker has been cleaning out the screech Owl box since the owls are gone and one of the tidbits it threw out was a whole owl egg. I fear the owls did not have a successful clutch in my yard.

Partial nest check results (unable to check telescopic pole)

Total Eggs:  17 + (10 eggs unable to verify if hatched)

Total Young:  53 (Plus 15 on other pole?) 68

Total (active) Nests:  22

Fledged to Date: 28

May 2, 2008

Friday, May 2nd, 2008

2 hawks made their presence known. The martins are on their toes as 15 babies are constantly sticking their heads out. Tomorrow is the official day. The earliest that the Martins can fledge from nest 1,2 and 10. They are noisy and on nest cam they are a curious sort. A comical bunch to watch. One will be napping, one preening, one or two at the entrance, another pecking at the camera. Very cute to watch. Hard to imagine how tiny they were 25 days ago.

Another pair seems to have taken up residence in the gourd that was abandoned. Hopefully that will end well. The ASY male sleeping on the porch is holding his own. I am running the pool till about 12:30 at night to mask any noise the birds make. Hopefully that is keeping the martins from becoming the owl dinner hot spot of Loxahatchee. Of course, my pool guy keeps changing it…humpf.

April 30, 2008

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

Fledging time is close at hand. I have noticed a change in the behaviour of the 3 nests that are due to fledge on May 3rd. First off, the parents have cut down on their bringing food to the nests. They are gone longer and are less…frantic about bringing food. Secondly, there is a steady stream of Martins that come to the entrance of the gourds. They peek in and appear to be ‘talking’ to the young inside. I have already stepped up my walk-unders and hawk patrols. I also will not do any further nest checks on the gourd rack until the 3 nests have fledged. The house is overdue for a check.

My Owls are incubating, I believe. The male now sits outside the nest box and I assume the female is within. I will keep my hat on when I am out there. I here that they can get quite protective…

April 25, 2008

Friday, April 25th, 2008

The second half of the nest check was done. Several nests being incubated, several fresh babies. The male ASY in a 6×6 compartment has taken to sleeping on the porch. Much to my dismay. With 5 eggs being incubated in the compartment, they are not taking any chances on breaking one of the eggs. I just hope he doesn’t get eaten by an Owl. When those eggs hatch it will be a source of much worry as any predator will be able to reach in easily and take the babies out. I will have to think of something I can do to better protect the male and his babies.

One thing is for sure. Next year all compartments will be 6×12, All gourds will be tunneled and ALL will have SREH. No round holes, even on my troyers which were all first to be claimed with the round entrances and tail prop.

Oh… and a pole with a winch!!! Now all I have to do is pick 6 numbers…

 On a sad  note, the gourd with 6 eggs that were over due to hatch, appears to have been abandoned.

My Paradise

Monday, March 31st, 2008

dsc_0107.JPGYesterdays nest check was great! 20 eggs total. 5 nests appear completed and seem to be ready for eggs any day. So hopefully. barring any untoward events, if these new nests also produce 5 eggs per clutch…45 eggs total. WOW. Mockingbirds are still bringing nest material, the owl is still in its nest box, and the bird feeders are busy. All is right with the world.  I believe several birds have moved on as the fights and bickering at bed time have subsided and my overall count seems to have dropped slightly. My count25 or so- Perhaps some pairs, unsatisfied that they could not get the housing they wanted have moved on to find other accommodations. Still, no complaints. My season is going great. 

A rainy day for a portion of yesterday, had my martins on the dirt road collecting mud from the street. A behavior that I had heard about but not witnessed first hand.

Blog Contents Copyrighted 2008: S.Halpin /

Owl in the Trap (March 21,2008)

Friday, March 21st, 2008

 I was in the house and reminiscing about yesterdays Starling catch. I was telling my husband about how I happened to look out the window and see the starling in the holding cage. While I was telling him I of course, go through he motions and look outside at the trap…and what is that!!! I look from in the house. I couldn’t have caught ANOTHER Starling. Maybe a love crazy purple martin?….nah. What the heck, there is something in there.  It wasn’t my eyes deceiving me. It was the most beautiful Eastern Screech Owl. Tan in color with big yellow eyes. It was trying to catch some zzzz’s there in the bottom of the holding cage. I put on a pair of gloves (No need to fool with that beak) and let the poor little fella out. So amazing to hold. It flew off, none the worse for wear and I was again amazed at the world we live in. We get so wrapped up in our lives sometimes and just the nature around us is enough to awe, inspire and renew your spirit.

Blog Contents Copyrighted 2008: S.Halpin /