During the day, Little Baby did the usual flapping and exercising. He became very active during the 7pm hour, with preening of tail feathers, and attempted flights across the box and to the ceiling. He had a last party in the box, tossing up the nesting material. Like a rock star, he had decided to trash the place before he left.
He was up and he was down and he was up and was scared back down by a housefly! He watched us watching him for the longest time. He even took a little catnap while resting his head in the entrance hole. Fireflies twinkled through the diminishing daylight.
Mr. Owl left his post from the bushes behind the nest box tree at about 8:30pm.
Before receiving a first bite of food for the evening, at 8:40pm Little Baby eased himself ever so gently out of the hole. For a moment we thought he would just step down onto the branches we had installed for the owlets to exit on. But no. He flapped his wings to execute a perfect left turn, and landed in the same bushes that Mr. Owl has been in every day for the past 2+ months. We watched as he struggled to get a better footing. Then he moved into the center of the bush hidden by the leaves. All we could see were leaves moving.
THEN a parent owl appeared on one of the power lines above the rustling leaves. We were hoping to see it go to help Little Baby to the main tree.
Movement on the tree BEHIND the power lines caught our attention. It was BOTH of the of the first 2 fledglings!! They were hopping and playing with each other on a big limb at the back of our neighbor's property. We got the spotting scope on them and by then it was only one. We watched as an adult owl fed the one. Then from out of nowhere, the other one seemed to FLY to join his sibling!!!!
We figured that the previous night, the second fledgling must have walked back to to nest tree, and climbed it all the way to the canopy. It also must have flown across the gap to the tree in which we saw it with its sibling.
So all 3 owlets have made it out of the box, and into the trees. It has been a very successful nesting season.
For the next 3 days, we tried to find the owlets and their parents in the trees behind our and the neighbors' houses. We had little success, despite combing the branches with binoculars for several hours. The only sighting was a warning swoop by one of the parents on the evening of the 25th. Twice, it swooped about 5 ft above Andy's head, clapping its bill once each time. It moved on, and hunted from a branch before being lost into the woods. Andy searched the trees around the area of the warning, hoping that the owlets were near, but never found anything.
We still have to comb through the aromatic contents of the nest box, and will post the results of that. We will also post any future owl sightings or behavior observations.
We have photos of the eldest owlet in the tree, and of one of the other 2 in the doorway. See
Thanks for taking this wonderful journey with us. Tune in next March, when hopefully they will again choose our nestbox in which to raise another family.
[May 24-25: Three in the Trees">link]