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: bruce@yolton.com
Copyright 2005-2009
D. Bruce Yolton
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Saturday, 1-26-08 - North Woods Eastern Screech-Owls , West Side Eastern Screech-Owls

The West Side owls continue to be in stealth mode.  The male was reported to been visible briefly during the day when a squirrel went near their cavity.  I think they're going to be impossible to photograph until later in the spring.

One of the Pool owls cavities had a squirrel come into the hole at dusk. Since this is where I had though they had laid eggs, this is very confusing.  This is a real puzzle.

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Monday, 1-28-08 - North Woods Eastern Screech-Owls

It looks like a tip from a Park Ranger may help us rediscover our missing North Woods Owls.  There is a tree near a popular bridge that has had a number of Owl sightings over the last few days.

This may be the new nesting cavity for the pair.  It was possible we had guessed too soon about when they started nesting.  The new location makes sense since it is near the fledge sites of 2005 and 2006.

Wednesday, 1-30-08 - North Woods Eastern Screech-Owls

I saw an owl in the new tree, got out my camera and the owl was gone.  I'll have to set up the camera before getting near the bridge the next time!

Thursday, 1-31-08 - North Woods Eastern Screech-Owls

Today, I finally got a picture of one of the North Woods Owls.  Now, who is it and where is its mate?  I guess only time will tell.

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Saturday, 2-2-08 - North Woods Eastern Screech-Owls

It was nice evening up in the North Woods.  The owl was in its tree as usual, and gave me the slip as usual, flying out fast, deeply into the Loch.  It's going to require a team effort to follow this one.

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Sunday, 2-3-08 - North Woods Eastern Screech-Owls

Almost the same as Saturday.  The North Woods owl was just waking up when I arrived, ignored the bikers and joggers going by, and then flew out deep into the Loch out of sight.

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Monday, 2-4-08 - North Woods Eastern Screech-Owls

Much like the last two nights, although I went down to the lower path before fly out.  It didn't help me see were our friend went however. 

We had a difficult time with two men playing owl tapes.   We got them to turn off their boom box, but it made me realize more than ever the need to be secretive about owls.  The good guys can be the bad guys without you knowing.

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There is a crack in the tree which you can't see in these pictures.  I believe the bird can look through and even fly out of the crack.  The owl is looking through the crack in this picture.

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Wednesday, 2-6-08 - North Woods Eastern Screech-Owls

Nothing tonight.  Nada.  But I've had great luck so far this season, so it's cool.

Tuesday, two owl watchers saw the owl fly out and then be joined by its mate.  Calling and copulation occurred.  So, I think we're got the same pair as last year, just in a new spot.

Thursday, 2-7-08 - North Woods Eastern Screech-Owls

Tonight, we confirmed that there was a back door out of the owl's roost.  We only saw the male tonight, but he let us watch him for over twenty minutes after flyout.

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Friday, 2-8-08 - North Woods Eastern Screech-Owls

Friday was a fun, but confusing night.  The female continues to appear out of nowhere, and we can't figure out what stage she's in, pre-egg laying, sitting on eggs or with hatchlings.

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One of owl group takes a short cut down into the Loch off the bridge.  For the first time, we see him raise his ears at us.  We all pledge never to take the short cut!

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The owl quickly takes a relaxed posture, so no harm was done.

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The owl slowly creeps higher and higher before fly out.  However, when you see both feet at the edge, fly out is only moments away.

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A quick look behind.

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A jump to the "backdoor" and out he goes.

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He moved north.

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And was joined by his mate.

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There was lots of head rubbing but no copulation this evening.

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One flew off and we were left with one.

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After this shot was taken, we started to exit the park.  By their 2007 nesting cavity, we first heard and then saw the pair.  As we exited the park, we realized with each day, we end up with more questions than answers.

Saturday, 2-9-08 - North Woods Eastern Screech-Owls

More fun on yet another confusing flight.  We're now able to track the owl after fly out and find his mate, but we still can't find her cavity.

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It was raining lightly, so he too a little longer than usual getting out of bed.

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We heard the female to the north before he flew out.  It was a strange evening.  He flew to a tree south of his cavity, then west across the drive, made lots of calls and flew back to the Loch.

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We then searched for them to the north and found both of them.  They soon copulated, and we then lost them.  Again, we left with more questions than answers.

Sunday, 2-10-08 - North Woods Eastern Screech-Owls

In the snow and cold, I didn't take very many pictures.  I changed my normal routine looking for the female's cavity, and ended up missing the owl pair copulating close to the male's cavity.

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Thursday, 2-14-08 - North Woods Eastern Screech-Owls

Tonight, we had some calls, copulation in what seems to be a favorite spot, and then we lost the pair.

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This blurry picture is of the pair copulating.

Friday, 2-15-08 - North Woods Eastern Screech-Owls

No sign of the owls tonight.  A real mystery, but Screech-Owls are tricky when they want to be.

Saturday, 2-16-08 - North Woods Eastern Screech-Owls

Nada.  A second night without sighting any owls.  Our luck has run dry.

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Sunday, 2-17-08 - North Woods Eastern Screech-Owls

I had a family dinner on Sunday, but Jean sent this wonderful report...

Oh Bruce, oh Bruce, oh man did you pick the wrong night not to be there. We had such lovely stuff this evening - owls for most of an hour, lost one or the other for a few minutes at a time, but almost always had at least one and very often both.

Flyout was earlier than it was before the Friday-Saturday blank - 5:40 out the back door, short flight north, then north again. Never did see the other come out of that cavity - just materialized near us, down in ravine, as has happened so frequently. One of them was eating something, for a long time, on a branch right over our heads while the other was nearby. Later they were together here or there - usually in woods between path and Drive - mostly just sitting near each other, but also two short copulations.

Best part was two together for a very long time on a fat horizontal branch directly over the path: he was holding a mouse in his beak, came ooching along the branch and offered it to her. She didn't seem to be interested (maybe she was the one who had already stuffed herself earlier?). He kept picking it up, showing it to her, putting it down at her feet, picking it up again and holding it. Finally - this is maybe 10 MINUTES! later - he decided if she really didn't want his mouse he would go off somewhere and eat it himself (or cache it somewhere, maybe - we lost him after that). We started heading back about 6:50, and she was still on that branch.

Monday, 2-18-08 - North Woods Eastern Screech-Owls

On a rainy night, no sign of the owls.  These one again, off again sightings are confusing but it might just be a function of our strange weather.  It was 60 degrees today.  Who knows?

Wednesday, 2-20-08 - North Woods Eastern Screech-Owls

It was a wonderful evening.  After a few nights without owls, I got to see both of them copulate, saw one of them with a mouse and best of all, we might have discovered their nest cavity.

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It's a blurry pictures, but I'm sure that the owl is holding a mouse.

Thursday, 2-21-08 - North Woods Eastern Screech-Owls

We were right yesterday.  We had found the second cavity.  It feels great to have finally found her home after all this time.

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Saturday, 2-23-08 - North Woods Eastern Screech-Owls

Tonight started out with two young raptors,  a Cooper's Hawk and a Red-tailed Hawk, playing what looked like tag.  One hawk would chase the other and then vis-versa.  Along the way, I found a Titmouse eating birdseed left by someone after the snowstorm.

A squirrel was in the male's normal roost, so we were concerned.  Our concern for the male grew as fly out took much longer than usual.  The hawks being around, so close to fly out, must have made the owls more cautious. 

Both owls flew out from the same cavity tonight.  This was the first time we have seen this occur this season.  Was it because of the snow in the male's usual spot, the squirrel or has something happened in the nest?

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