Saturday, March 15, 2008

Meet Oscar!

The first thing I did this morning when I woke up was look through the spotting telescope at the wood duck box at the far end of the field. There was Oscar, his cute little gray face visible inside the entrance hole! Hurray! He decided to stay! He is ignoring the screech owl box in the open part of the windbreak. Perhaps we should add a mesh wire ladder to the inside. Or maybe he just likes the roominess of the wood duck box. Who knows what owls think. I'm just thrilled he is still here and has chosen a nest site that we can see from the house.

Unable to contain my curiosity, I grabbed a pair of binocs and my digital camera and headed down the road. When I neared the nest box I entered the windbreak from the road, which made a bit of a crackling noise. I tried to be quiet and stealthy but sneaking up on owls is impossible, so instead I tried to be quick and as unintrusive as possible. I got within 100 feet and propped the binocs up on a tree branch to take some quick pictures through them. Then I put my camera in my pocket and indulged in a few moments of staring at Oscar through the binocs.

He's a lovely little gray phase Eastern screech owl and I am completely smitten with him! Just look at those cute little ear tufts as he stares at me with squinty eyes. I don't know how he can sleep with all the racket the blackbirds are making out there. They are pairing up for spring and all you can hear are various species of blackbird calling, whistling and trilling to each other! Poor Oscar, I hope he can get some rest when they go to bed.

I have no idea if there is a Missus Oscar yet but I feel certain there is. These owls are residents here year-round. I like to think that when they saw the lovely nest boxes we provided they decided to give them a try and liked them enough to stay. I've heard these little owls at all times of the night, as early as sundown and as late as 3 a.m. I hear them in the orchards and in the windbreak calling to each other. I've found their pellets and droppings in the windbreak. And now, finally, I've seen them! It's very likely I've walked past them many times without ever knowing because they are so perfectly camouflaged.

Updates on Oscar and his family will be posted regularly. And you can be certain that any owlets I can see will be photographed come hell or high water!

What a thrill!


  1. Next year you're going to have to install an owlcam so you can spy on them on all the time!

  2. Believe me, if I could afford a wireless cam, I'd do it. The box is well over 600 feet away though, so a cam just isn't feasible. It would be fun though!

  3. When I bought mine the guy claimed that you can run the cabling up to a 1000' without quality loss. Mine is about 250' and the quality is 100%. Setup was very easy, although running the wiring is time consuming.

    In case you're thinking about it here is the link:


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