I can’t help but share more owl pictures. The countdown to fledge time is here, and very soon our little group will leave their nest. Then I’ll be sad but proud, too — proud of them for getting so big, proud of Mama and Papa Owl for taking such good care of their babies, and proud of us for building the nest boxes a few years ago.
Taking pictures of owlets is an interesting process. We have to be very careful to start by taking pictures far across the yard, in case they get skittish and disappear as we approach. We also have to be fast but discreet as we take pictures, and we just have to hope they don’t come out blurry. As the sun goes down, we’re challenged by the decreasing available light, and then comes full darkness. All the while, you can’t move very quickly, or the owls will hide themselves away in a flash.
This little screech owl was brave enough to fully sit in the doorway of the nest box. It spent a lot of time during the day just looking around at the big, big world. For such a little owl, it has some big talons! Here’s a closer view:
I guess having big strong talons helps you “claw” your way to the top, literally — and before your siblings have a chance to get there. We still don’t know the exact number of owlets we have, but we now know that it’s at least two.
At this point in the photo sequence, you can see that the sun is going down. After a late afternoon nap, one of the owlets peeked out to start looking for mama. Its eyes would track everything that moved — birds, bugs, dogs, and us.
I love the classic “bob and weave” movement that owls do, and this owlet did it like a pro. Of course, what it is really doing is triangulating, improving its 3-dimensional view to better target its, well, target. This will be important when it starts hunting for food on its own.
As it got darker, the owlet began more energetic searches for mama and papa. Of course, anytime I moved the camera to my face, the owlet stared at me instead.
But then it would look for its food delivery again. Then finally, the evening mealtime began.
Can you see the food in mama’s mouth? Or is that papa? I never know.
Here Mama/Papa Owl and Owlet watch each other from a short distance.
This time, Mama/Papa has brought what appears to be a cutworm. Yum? Well, I suppose cutworms are to baby owls as chocolate is to me.
Even though one owlet seemed to hog the doorway, Mama/Papa Owl would push it back into the box when they flew in with food. Why? Because there were more mouths to feed!
Here’s our glimpse of two owlet siblings. I hope we’ll be able to get a better picture before they fledge, but the owlets will have to share the doorway — I’m not sure they’ll want to do that! Could there be more in there? Whooooo knows?
By the way, we thought it was time we named our mama and papa owls. After all, they’ve been a part of our family for a few years now. I actually think “Bob” and “Weave” sound like good names. Michael suggested “Woody” and “Hooter” but that is so NOT going to happen. We’re open to suggestions!