Some of you may have already read my article Meet Harry and Hermione, Our Resident Eastern Screech Owls over on Paula Mason Photography, and the article titled Baby Owls in my Backyard…What An Amazing Sight for this Bird Nerd, about the owls who had apparently moved in to our owl box…finally, and the baby owls that were finally spotted in the owl box!
But what I haven’t blogged about yet, is the amazing baby owl rescue mission that we were a part of. Always lots of bird activity in my backyard because of all the feeders, but the most exciting things to happen recently during all of this quarantine was the baby owl rescue.
I was sitting quietly in my bedroom reading, when suddenly, I heard something slam into my window. Bella, my dog, and I both jumped out of our skin! It was late, about 9:30 PM, and everything was so quiet up until the loud thud against the window.
I hurried outside to see what in the world had happened. I was pretty sure it must’ve been a bird, as that has happened many times before, but usually only during the day. I was shocked when I went outside and saw a cute little owl hanging on to the window sill of my bedroom window.
I had my phone with me, so I immediately began recording it, because I knew he wouldn’t stay there very long. I was so surprised that he didn’t fly off immediately. And then Bella began sniffing around the grill barking and whining a little bit, so I knew there was something down there as well.
Last time there was something near our grill, it was a snake, so I was hesitant to check this out. Imagine my surprise, when I found another owl! So now there was an owl on my window sill, and another one on the ground, and neither of them were flying away as I approached.
It was then that I noticed their mom sitting close by on the fence. I knew I needed to be careful. I didn’t want to upset the mom and have her swoop down and attack! As I got closer, I realized that the little owl on the window sill was stuck. His little talon was caught in the screen or something, and he wasn’t able to fly away.
I quickly ran in to get Mark and a towel so we could begin our baby owl rescue. Given that we were in this strange quarantine time still, this was by far the most excitement we had experienced! Mark carefully approached, and with some of my excellent coaching and advice, he was able to free the little owl from the window and set him safely on the ground so he could fly off when ready.
Fortunately, the momma owl must’ve known we were there to help, because I was worried that she might swoop down to warn us to stay away from her baby. She kept a careful watch on us the entire time, sitting quietly on a nearby branch. Once we set the baby on the ground, she flew off (I guess to hunt for food). That was an exciting evening for us.
So now we had something to entertain us during this crazy COVID-19 quarantine. I spent the next few weeks watching and waiting for the owls to poke their little heads out at night and work on their flying and hunting skills with momma owl. Turns out, there were actually 4 little baby owls that we had living in our yard for a while.
Each day, they would hang out in a tree close to the owl box sleeping, waiting for the sun to set. That’s when the fun began for them. That’s when momma owl would come and drop off food for each of them, and then fly off calling to them throughout the night.
The little baby owls would practice their flying from branch to branch, mostly, occasionally flying to the ground, or to the neighbor’s trampoline next door. Sadly, all of this fun stuff always happened late at night, when taking pictures was not easy. I do have a few pictures and some cute video footage, but without some sort of spotlight, it was hard to document.
After just a few weeks, I finally saw them for the last time. I didn’t know it, but they were fully fledged and ready to be on their own. I went out each evening for the next week hoping to catch a glimpse of my little friends, but I never was able to find them. I’m sure they were closer than I knew – they were always so well camoflauged in the trees.
Who knows…maybe they’re still somewhere close by and I just don’t see them (yet). But I’m always looking. And I’m hoping that they like my backyard enough that they’ll come back again next nesting season to raise their own babies in the very backyard in which they were raised. Wouldn’t that be fun?
If you’re thinking of getting an owl box or some bird houses, prepare yourself for lots of fun! And just remember one thing…be patient. Very patient! It took almost a year before someone (besides squirrels) showed any interest in my owl box. But once they did, it made all that waiting and wishing well worth it.
I think I’m going to upgrade my owl box before next season. I’ve been reading up on owl boxes and bird houses with cameras inside of them. How cool would that be to watch little baby owlets grow up?? Have any of you done that before? I’m wondering what you do if you need to retrieve the camera for some reason. What if you lose your connection to your cell phone? Lots to think about…
Because I had so much trouble getting good pictures and videos of all the action occurring in my backyard after dark, I recently purchased a trail cam. I am so excited to get it all set up and out in my backyard. I hope seeing the video footage doesn’t scare me so badly that I never go out into my yard at night anymore.
Maybe it’s better to not know what’s creepin’ around out there in the dark. Hmmm… I’ll let you know what I think after I get it all set up and have a chance to review some of the footage.
Let me know what friends come visit you in your yard! I’d love to see pictures and videos. Happy birding (and creature hunting)! Until next time…
Paula – LOVE THIS ?????? The story and pictures. The owls are beautiful?? I too hope they come back and nest in your very special backyard again. And, WooHoo to the night cam. Looking forward to pics?????