Here’s Looking Back

Owlet in the nest box – looking back at you

Last July our post Here’s Looking At You was about Barred Owls in Sandy Springs with two great photos taken by our friend Cindy Mayer.  She has a piece of wooded property with pines and thought it would make great habitat for the owls.  We offered to make an owl nestbox for her in return for more photos if it were used by the owls.

She and her husband paid a tree service to put the nest box way up in a pine.  And she was right about the location!  Today she sent us photos of a young owlet in the box.  It’s a great story, as told in her own words.

Owl box mounted on a tall pine

“After we moved into our house about 3 years ago, we spotted two adult barred owls in our backyard & neighbors indicated they’d unsuccessfully nested in a tree stump across the street the previous year.  That was enough to set me on a mission!  I researched owl nest boxes including where & when they should be placed with hopes of enticing the owls to raise a family in our yard.  We live in a forested neighborhood near the Chattahoochee river.

There’s a clean stream a couple of properties away & our property consists mostly of mature trees such as loblolly pines, tulip poplars, sweetgum trees & southern magnolias with a few maples, redbud, dogwood & oaks.”

“The nest box sits about 35 feet high in a tree in the central rear of our backyard, which abuts an elementary school.  There are more trees on the other side of the fence & a little-used gravel pathway for walkers.”

Owlet in the nest box

“I’ve been watching & listening for any evidence of an owlet for the past few weeks since I saw activity in the in the nest box.   This afternoon I saw what looked like an owl’s tail sticking out of the doorway of the nest box, so I ran downstairs to grab the camera & headed outside. And when I got there, I saw two big eyes & a ball of fluff sitting in the doorway, & talons, too — silently staring at me! How exciting!! ”

“I only saw one owlet, although there may be more inside the box. And he was much bigger than I expected!  So I guess the family was further along than I realized when I first saw the action in the nest a few weeks ago.  But I am thrilled there is at least one little one. And by the way, every “serious” birder I share the story with tells me that it is very unusual for owls to accept a nest box so soon after being installed.”

Thanks for the story and photos Cindy and for all the great things you do for wildlife. Such an inspiration–what we do in our own yards matters!

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