Comments from the 2011 nesting season.
Maybe the owlet had a rough landing in a palm tree. I’ve been watching the owlets in my garden flounder around and somehow manage to land on the side of a palm where the dead fronds haven’t been totally removed. Here are a couple of pics from the other night:
Landing in a pine tree
Landing in a palm tree
Sitting on the side of a palm
jac, you have BNOWS in your backyard? Is the nest nearby? That’s pretty exciting. Are these ones that just fledged?
Yes, the nest is in a palm in my garden. I’ve been hearing owlets rasping from the tree since shortly before the Starr Ranch banding day so I think mine are younger. I still hear rasping from the nest even though 2-4 are fledging. I’m guessing it’s the parents when I hear the scary calls and twittering rather than rasping. There are numerous pellets and bird droppings at the base of the tree, and earlier I saw adults diving in to the dry palm fronds where the nest must be hidden.
That’s pretty exciting to see them from your own house! Is this the first year you’ve seen them – were they around last year?
My BNOWS have been around for years, but I didn’t know it until I learned more about them from this site. I saw pellets in the garden (didn’t know what they were) and when the adults screeched I used to go out expecting to find a murdered cat – making sure mine were indoors.
Sometimes ‘ghost owlet rasper,’ sounds a little hoarse… now Kathy, I did say sounds hoarse, not sounds like a horse!!!! lol Remember, too late at night for sanity!
Sometimes he sounds almost like breaking glass!
Must tune out for tonight, good luck to all of the owlets and most especially to the the incessant rasper!
Emma, at night we can call him ‘ghost owlet hoarse rasper’… people should know what owlet we are referring to, right??! I can’t remember anymore, is this the injured one? I think it’s time for me to retire for the night… it was surely alot of FUN! I will hear hoarse rasping in my dreams! lol
Wow, the ‘ghost in the night owlet’ is certainly a persistent rasper! Sometimes I’m not sure that it’s still there but then the image seems to morph back into owl shape!!!
Emma, you’re making ME chuckle!!! lol
Do you hear that “droniness sound” in the b/g? I sure wonder what causes that noise! Sounds like it spikes up in volume w/ the increase in owl activity/flying.
Kathy, I asked about that sound last eve and someone posted that they thought it had something to do with the cam. It sure is a strange sound and seems to override other sounds and I only hear it at night. Do you notice it in the daytime? About chuckling… I’m still smiling with the firehose from you and the water from someone else! Need humor to stay awake. :)
Emma, that was my posting last night about the funny sound… I just wonder what causes it, I thought maybe the cam (??) I agree, I only hear it at night… strange! And that was my posting tonight about the water (coming from the fire house!) Geez, I think I need some sleep!
Thank you Pete for sharing your wisdom and vision of Starr Ranch. I think we viewers and supporters are very privileged to be here witnessing the growth of these precious birds. Such technology and care has never been so easily available to the novice. To enjoy this intimate contact you must also observe the not-so-pleasant stuff, just like all the nature shows we view on TV. Anyway, let’s stay positive for the owls!
I used paint to enhance this grainy picture. From what I could see, this is not the injured owl.
I agree… it looks like he is putting weight on both feet.
Sally, can you post the image you enhanced?
Then I hope the other is having success as a one-legged hunter; guess it’s best if I don’t hold my breath … but it really is much less painful to assume he’ll be okay!
There seems to be only the one owlet (the “ghost”) nearby tonight. I suppose it’s probably the wounded one, and I WISH Mom or Dad would come by with food for him/her!
Don’t think this is the injured one, my guess is the youngest. See my longer post below…..
I think you’re right.
Looks like a ghost in the night!
The owl has been sitting there for some time now. Does anyone think it might be the injured one?
The camera on the right is not clear enough for me to tell – too grainy.
I don’t think this is the injured one (seems to be standing squarely on both legs). Although I haven’t been watching continuously, it looked initially like the injured one was sitting on this branch (after making a slightly awkward landing), then this one came along and nudged him/her further down. I was encouraged to see that the injured one was doing a little weight bearing on the bad leg. After a little while, the injured one turned around and flew straight off away from the camera with strong wing action. I’m hoping he’s found dinner by now. I don’t think the injured one was the youngest, which I’m thinking this one may be.
Not sure if anyone may have captured that action a few hours ago or not.
Thanks KathyG and svh77..I’ve never seen one of the young stay on the branch for such a long time. With the graininess, it creates a mysterious and interesting image for me.
Emma, do you know what that white horizontal-looking image is that goes off the left side of the screen?
KathyG, I assumed it was a branch of the tree, don’t really know. Hmmmm
Emma, I think it looks too white for part of a branch… there’s no variation of color. To me, it looks like a fire hose! lol
KathyG – that white horizontal-looking image is a close up of the “branch” that starts near the nest cavity. Pete has the camera zoomed out to the far limbs and the video captures a portion of the branch.
… and the ‘white area’ in question looks like the water!
KathyG, I am chuckling… late night imaginations are wonderful, right? What else might it be, besides a branch or fire hose, I mean???? lol
It is a branch of the tree. The PTZ cam zoomed into this location and owlet sometime around 8:30
Thank you Jack(ID) for clarifying… it does make it hard with the graininess of the cam. I guess I let my (wild) imagination go too far!! lol
I didn’t mean to make you chuckle Emma! Some wild activity is happening on the right branch as I type… I guess I’ll need to check this rt. cam out tomorrow during daylight hours!
Thanks for your comments Pete and for everything you and all of you at Starr Ranch do in providing us with this opportunity. We will remain hopeful for a good outcome.
Thanks Pete for your time with the explanation. I agree that we need to let nature take its course, even though I feel badly for the owlet. We are privileged to watch nature up close – If you didn’t provide this opportunity to us, we would have never known this owlet was injured. Thanks again for your knowledge and all you do at Starr Ranch!
Thank you for your extensive, informative and thoughtful comments. My heart is breaking but I remain hopeful for the injured owl. Though painful to face, I believe your postion regarding non-intervention is probably best. We are so fortunate to observe these beautiful creatures in their own environment. Usually it is joyful; sometimes it is very sad.
I’ve been watching the commnts and from what I read over the last couple of days it appears it might help to try to clear the air a bit about the fledgling with the bum talon/foot/leg:
Why did this happen: Could be lots of reasons. Don’t know. But doesn’t matter why. Just points out yet another thing that can happen and why it’s difficult for these guys to ultimately survive. They face a host of survival challenges trying to make it from egg to adult. This is just one of them and a completely natural occurrence, albeit probably not a common one.
Is this injury serious: Maybe, maybe not. From what I see we’re looking at (forgive the human analogy) a kid with a twisted ankle and not one who needs intensive care.
Will it make it?: Maybe, maybe not. It took off tonight so that’s a good sign. But if it doesn’t make it because of this injury or the multitude of other reasons most of these fledglings don’t ultimately make it, that wouldn’t be unusual. It would be normal.
What will I do if the injury is life threatening?: Nothing. Among other reasons, because nothing can be done. At this point in their development these fledglings are virtually impossible to capture. They likely still have little experience hunting on their own so the chances of capturing them by using one of the various techniques that rely on them coming into prey are slim to none. And if I climbed up there during the day all of them would most certainly bolt before I got halfway up. There are also a bunch of other things that could happen trying to retrieve this bird that could result in a worse overall outcome for all of them. Also keep in mind that it’s illegal for me to take a wild bird out of the wild, no matter what condition it’s in.
Take home messages:
-Don’t assume the worse.
-Let’s see how this plays out keeping in mind that it’s a unique opportunity to watch what occurs in the wild and it would happen whether we were watching or not.
-No need to post wildlife rehab contacts to solicit supplemental intervention. We all know each other here and work closely together. I’ve had more than a few rehabed raptors released or fostered out to nests at Starr Ranch and a few colleagues and myself are often the only ones called to rescue raptors that have been orphaned because someone cut down a nest tree, etc.
-As always on this site, all well meaning and well thought out questions or comments are welcomed. That’s what I envisioned (and so far it’s been great!). All I ask is that when you comment you first know as much as possible about any particular situation and that you’ve done your homework on every other aspect of the life history of these BNOWs. I’ll also submit the latter takes a lot of years in the field working w/ these birds to get a true sense of their life and challenges (I’ve never met a raptor biologist worth their salt who just got their learnin’ from a book or a class).
-Trust me. I love these birds. They’re incredible. I also have some unbelievably talented colleagues. Among us we have way over 200 years of combined experience working with raptors closely and in great detail on every level to feel confident about doing the best things we possibly can for them.
Last, I take nothing away from the emotion and compassion that comes from seeing an injured animal and wanting to help. But please know that intervention is not always simple, possible, or appropriate. And I think I need to reiterate a very important tenet of this cam and nest: Just because we get to watch a wild scenario unfold doesn’t give me or anyone else the right to intervene and/or manipulate what happens. And I’ve said all along I won’t intervene. What is happening would happen whether we were watching or not, as it does in literally billions of other nesting scenarios around the world. To me, that’s called “life”. Heartbreaking, incredible, tragic, unbelievable, you name it. It’s all part of it, whether we like it or not.
If anything above offended or disturbed anyone, I apologize. My intent was to share what I’ve learned and know. Pete
Thanks Pete – very thoughtful and informative!
Thanks, Pete. I know I speak for many here when I say ‘thank you’ for offering us a window into the nest and lives of barn owls. Sad as nature can be sometimes, unfortunately, it’s a fact of life. We’re all hoping for the best for this little guy.
I could listen to Pete for hours. What a wealth of information and a kind heart, not only for the BNOWs, but also for us bloggers.
Pete, thank you for your post. Not everyone can understand your POV because, as I have said before, we always want to fix things. Ultimately there needs to be the wisdom to know whether it is right or wrong, and after reading so many of your posts in the last 3 years, I believe that the wisdom resides with you. Thank you for all you do at Starr.
Thank you Pete, will just keep praying for the little one.
I might not understand, but this has been a great experience and I’ve come to love these little ones. They have a way of growing on you, and there cute personalities, I know your doing whats best with all your experience.
I’d never make it in the wild or caring for them, I’d be crying all the time, some can handle it, while other’s of us, well. you know..
Maybe we should listen to the doors. the crystal ship. how amazing.
I just love your captured images Pantha! Thanks very much for posting them. I look back at the day’s photos and comments to get caught up at night. I really enjoy and appreciate your intelligent comments and beautiful photos. Thank you.
First one out
Tonight….just before the launch
Maybe ‘ouchie’ will stick close to home and beg… “mom, dad.. my leg hurts. Help an owlet out and bring me a nice dusky footed wood rat, would ya?”
Someone on the branch.. lots of rasping and squeaking going on..someone came back home, not ouchie
I think it could have been Mom who came in….and an owlet on the branch (not sure)
All out at 7:53
Our injured owlet just took off.
Yes Lisa, you came to this web site because of the owlets. They bring people to the site. They bring in donations.
My point is made.
You make it sound like it’s a bad thing to ask for a helping hand. Actually I came to the site after I saw the show with Huell Howser – the owlets were just a bonus. I support Starr Ranch because I enjoy seeing something I’ve never seen before (baby owls) and I love knowing this big, vast wilderness exists right in my own back yard. I see the backdrop of houses behind the ranch and I can be reassured that this beautiful ranch/preserve/sanctuary will never be spoiled by development.
Lisa, I don’t intend to make it sound as if donations are a bad thing. Of course they aren’t. But what other draw can you think of that brings a lot of people to your nature conservancy sites? “Wow! They have baby owls! and baby hummingbirds! and little Black Phoebes!” And while people are enjoying all that, they take a few minutes to read the rest of the site and learn about your organization and give donations for that work. Of course we’ve all enjoyed the owlets. Who wouldn’t! Seeing them has been a plus. They are certainly more interesting then, say, going to a web site to read about erosion and flood control on the preserve. (At least to most people.) But as I said, what’s the big deal about having an owl examined? Especially at this age. If it weren’t injured the other night, it may have already been out on its own. I’ve beaten this subject to death and I’m ending my part in it now.
Here’s what I take away from seeing one of the owlets injured: life is very hard for this and all other wild creatures. We need to do all we can to give the greatest number of wild animals what they need most–habitat and the right to live as wild birds of prey. To me its just a reminder that even under the best of circumstances, most won’t make it, and we need to preserve the habitat and way of life for the rest, hoping some of the owlets we’ve all come to love make it to full grown owls.
At this stage, I don’t think anyone could catch this owl without furthering injuring it or creating great trauma. When they were banded, they could not fly and could not escape, making handling them easier. I am not sure that trying to catch this one at this point in time will help it more than hinder it.
Well, you motivated me, Heather; well said.