Owl Tails Sticking Out

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Alfred Maley

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Apr 19, 2024, 12:45:40 PMApr 19
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This is the time when young Barred Owlets are big enough that it’s a puzzle for the mother to brood them all, within the confines of the nest box. So it is that I frequently see the mother’s tail sticking out the entrance hole, looking for all the world like a piece of bark or a cluster of leaves. For me, it’s the easiest way to know whether a box is occupied, without needing to approach the nest box. So it is that this morning I confirmed a couple more boxes as occupied which makes 10, with one more reliable one to check.

Hampstead has perhaps nine square miles of good Barred Owl habitat, so that’s a pair at least for every square mile. Two boxes are only a quarter mile apart, confounding the rules of the “experts”.Also, Kyle WIlmarth can confirm that these owls can make do with even smaller tracts of what one would think of as sub-prime habitat, if they have a secure nest site.

At the end of the day however these numbers only serve to maintain, not increase, owl numbers as the young regularly get mowed down by the crazy traffic on Route 111.

These checks also revealed La Waterthrushes “all over the place”, the first singing Blue-headed Vireos and Winter Wrens, and a surprising number of vociferous Red-shouldered Hawks, as well as the first flowering spicebushes.

Al Maley
Hampstead, NH
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