2012 Comment Archive I

10/02/12 The banded Female from the last brood and the current unbanded Female
Some have asked about the banded female that was one of the pair that raised a brood of five last December through April. First, you may recall that the male during this time disappeared right after the last chick hatched and was subsequently found dead approximately .6 miles N of the cavity (scroll down for more info on him). In any case this banded female, along with some supplemental feeding by me, was able to raise the five chicks to fledging. As expected, for a while some of the fledglings came back to the cavity and over time eventually died (very common) or dispersed. I recall the cavity was vacant for a while and then the banded female returned to roost there. She then stopped showing up and after some time the unbanded female we are watching now began roosting in the cavity.

So what happened to the banded female? Two things come to mind: 1) She died. This happens all the time but there’s no way to confirm without finding BNOW remains that might happen to have the band among them. 2) She bonded with a male in another territory and is doing fine. Remember, for the majority of time she was raising chicks and tending fledglings she was without a mate. So it makes total sense that she would eventually look for one. And it doesn’t necessarily go that if she found one they would end up in this cavity. Pete

10/02/12 The banded Male – ID CONFIRMED
After finally seeing the rest of his band number it’s confirmed that this male was banded on 04/17/11 as a chick in a box in Bell Canyon on Starr Ranch about 1.6 miles south of the cavity. This particular box has routinely produced a lot of chicks most every year and it’s really cool to know that this guy made it to adulthood and is now part of a pair. For you Google Earth folks, the box is at approximately 33°36’28.21″N,117°33’50.53″W and the cavity is at 33°37’45.90″N,117°33’14.89″W  Pete

09/26/12 The banded Male…
Assuming:
-This is the same banded male we’ve been observing and getting partial band numbers from over the last few months. (Highly likely)
-The only bands used on BNOWs in this region are Pete Bloom’s. (HIGHLY likely)
-The only unobserved digit is the 1st one and it’s gonna be a “1″. (Highly likely)

this male is 1947-17423 telling us he was banded on 04/17/11 and also tells us he’s old enough to be sexually mature (6-8 months is thought to be the minimum age).

Where was he banded?
33.58333, -117.58333 is the lat/long of the center of a 10 minute lat/long block where this male was banded and that the Bird Banding Lab uses to record banding locations. Individual banders keep much more specific location information, but I haven’t checked with Pete yet to see if he’s got a more specific location for this guy. (Pete has 46,000+ banding records that are in the process of being put in a dbase…). In the meantime, for those of you who like to use Google Earth, etc., the corners of this ten minute block are approximately:
33 30,-117 40
33 40,-117 40
33 40,-117 30
33 30,-117 30
and most of Starr Ranch is inside this block. So he could have been banded quite close to the cavity or some miles away.  The cavity is at:
33°37’45.90″N,117°33’14.89″W

Paste any/all these coordinates in Google Earth and you’ll get some context.

Anyway, I think we can say pretty confidently that there’s a new kid in town… Pete

09/25/12 On November 3rd we’re holding our Semiannual “Family Nature Workshops” at Starr Ranch. If you would like to know what this is all about and sign up to attend, click HERE. It’s filling up fast so make your reservation soon. Pete

08/15/12 UPDATE I’m sure many of you are concerned that the female hasn’t been seen in the cavity for a while. Perhaps it’s the heat – it remains in the high 90′s and 100′s daily and it doesn’t cool off quickly in the evening so, as has already been suggested, she just might find it too hot in there. More important, I routinely hear BNOWs flying around near the cavity every night. One of them may not be her, but the chances are good that it is. So we shall see.

On the “When is Pete gonna get the PTZ and audio back up?” front, here’s the deal. I’m in the process of upgrading some ten year old office PCs and I think one of these old ones will be able to work for the PTZ.  I’ve had one previous false start with an old laptop that I used to run the BCHU cam – I just couldn’t get it to work for the PTZ and audio. So I’m going to try to find the time to take one of these old office desktop PCs and set it up as a replacement. If I’m successful it will broadcast in the old Windows Media Player format.

In the meantime, Jorge took the PC that used to run both cams and that crashed to set it up for PTZ and audio via Linux and Flash, but he determined that the processor is bad and we’re deciding if it’s cost effective to get a new processor. Or if one of the slower, office PCs I’m retiring has enough fire power to do the job – they work, but will they work well enough?

So we have a lot of balls in the air and are peddling as fast as we can (how’s that for a mixed metaphor?) And I know you guys aren’t complaining. I’m as anxious as you are to get the PTZ and audio back up because we all know we can learn a lot just by hearing what’s going on. In any case, thanks for your patience. Pete

08/06/12 Gretchen and Jorge did a great job of quickly getting at least one video feed back up. Thanks! As you can see it is now in the flash format. However, a few more things need to happen to bring up both feeds again, and audio, and some housekeeping.
- I will contact StreamGuys and have them increase the # of users who can watch simultaneously. Right now since the flash feed is still technically in our test mode the maximum number of users is still at 10.  So if you sometimes get the video and sometimes don’t, it’s probably due to the max user # being too low.
- We’re still trying to figure out how to provide audio while using flash. Jorge is working on this. If it will take a long time I will try to get the right cam back up using the old Windows Media Player format that I know will provide audio.
- I realize the static area where I post below the video isn’t scrolling so it takes up a lot of room. I’ve asked Gretchen to fix.
Thanks to those who sent donations recently! They are really appreciated and important to help defray some of the costs of the day to day running of these cams and especially when there are glitches like the current one. Pete

08/02/12 I had a major meltdown today with the PC that runs the cams. Not likely I’ll be able to fix quickly, so cams will probably be down at least through the weekend. However, we’ve been testing for a while and the format was going to switch to Flash-based instead of Windows Media Player-based pretty soon so this might be a good time to do it. Flash is becoming more the standard for webcams and also allows viewing on smartphones, tablets, etc. So anything you can do to prepare on your end (e.g. Flash plugin for your browser, etc.) would be a good idea. I will provide a FAQ on using Flash when we make the change.
Also, Jorge – a friend of ours who I’ve been working with on the Flash format and better stability – is coming by tomorrow and he’s going to set up another PC for the cams so that they’ll be more stable and allow a better set of controls. So another good reason to take this down time for making the change. However, this still might not mean the cam will be back up by Monday, but I will try my best. I not only need other hardware and to have Gretchen get the webpage revamped, but need to find the time for it all. Has been pretty busy at Starr Ranch lately.
In the meantime, sorry about this but it’s just one of those “behind the scenes” complications/problems/glitches that are part of providing cams like these.  I’m sure you all can appreciate that they don’t run themselves. In any case, keep checking in. If it looks like it’s going to take a LOOOONG time to get back up and make the switch to Flash I probably can cobble something together in the meantime.  Pete

07/09/12 I’m seeing some dialog about BNOW longevity and thought it important to make a few points.  Am pretty sure life expectancy once/if a fledgling makes it past the most critical stage from fledgling to adulthood is typically much longer than 24 months.  I will check with Pete Bloom but for now I’m pretty sure he’s recaptured hundreds of BNOWs and many of them are well over that.  Also, I saw reference to the oldest recorded wild BNOW being 8 years old.  The Bird Banding Lab (which oversees all bands and banders) has the oldest as 15 with 2nd and 3rd “place” being 12-13 years.  Specific to the Starr Ranch BNOWs using this cavity, the last pair to successfully nest earlier this year were both banded.  The male – who died and was found – was at least 9 years old (he was banded in April 2006 and at that time was at least 3 yrs old) and the female that hasn’t shown up again after the last brood fledged was banded in March 2007 and at the time was at least 2 yrs old = at least 7 yrs old.  The main take home message is that there’s a lot to learn and each day we are learning more.  And that it’s sometimes not a good idea to treat some life history “facts” as just that – facts.  Certainly there are things we can say with some confidence.  Like BNOWs often have multiple clutches per year and they can lay up to 10-12 eggs.  But longevity falls into that area where we really don’t know enough to be too definitive.  Pete

07/05/12 Sandy and I are taking a few days off and won’t be back until Sunday afternoon. So till then the right cam will stay on the HOFIs. I can usually remotely fix any problems with the video feeds, so feel free to email me if there are any. But switching btw the BNOW limb and the HOFI requires me to be at Starr Ranch. Thanks. Pete

06/15/12 I’m going to do some more work on the left static cam on the cavity.  I’ve isolated the problem and should be able to fix as soon as I get a few parts.  Hopefully by tomorrow.  For today I was able to look in the cavity with the PTZ cam and nobody’s home. Pete

06/09/12 I walked by the House Finch nest today and a bird flew out. Checked and there’s one egg. Looks like we could have Round 2… Pete

06/08/12 It appears that the BCHU has returned and is fixing up the nest in preparation for a second clutch. So I’ll be putting the daytime right view on it. Pete

06/02/12 10:30AM PST I need to do a little more work on the cavity cam so the left view will be down again for a while. Pete

05/31/12 Left cam will be down for a bit while I make some adjustments and try to get the right PTZ cam back up. Will have one or both back on by dark. In meantime, right cam House Finches will stay live. Pete

05/12/12 PTZ down again cause I need to get up there with soldering iron to fix a bad connection that was only working cause I pushed on it a bit the other night until it did. But this is unreliable as evidenced by the fact that it’s not working again. Hauling out a looooooong… extension cord and climbing up there w/ my soldering stuff, etc to do this is much easier than bringing the whole set up to the bench but still involves some effort. In any case will try to do tomorrow. In meantime, thanks for your patience. Pete

05/09/12 If you liked to see some Red-shouldered Hawk chicks up close and participate in banding them I finally was able to set a date: this Sunday afternoon, 5/13. Sorry for short notice but one doesn’t always get a lot of lead time during spring when so much is going on.  Details are here: Red-shouldered Hawk Banding at Starr Ranch Pete Addendum: Since a few have asked, if I can find the time to get out on the Ranch and scout some more nests I might be able to offer more banding opportunities at later dates. Could be some Cooper’s Hawks and a few late Red-Shouldered hawks or White -tailed Kites. If so, I will post here and on FB.

I’ll be sending emails to those who haven’t seen the recap and/or fulfilled their pledge yet, but if you remember how much you pledged/species simply go to this link 2012 Starr Ranch Birdathon Recap and Species List and it should be straight forward what to do (and it will also be one less email I have to send!) Thanks!!! Pete

05/07/12 While the cavity is empty I figured I’d provide another nest to watch. So during the day the left cam will be on a House Finch (5 eggs) that built a nest where we normally have had Pacific Slope Flycatchers nest. Rest assured I will put the cavity view back up in the evening (and hopefully get the PTZ cam fixed soon as well).  Also, the Birdathon recap and species list link will be posted here by the end of the day.  I’m just doing some final editing.  Pete

05/05/12 Hmmmmm… a little bird told me that some are wondering how to make their Birdathon pledge donation. Was thinking that when I posted the write up tomorrow or Monday I’d include a link where you can do this if you want to use a credit card (quite frankly this is preferred cause it’s a lot less admin for me than a check). However, if you want to send a check, that’s totally fine. In the meantime, for those who are chomping at the bit, you can satisfy your pledge with a c-card or get the details about sending a check by clicking HERE. The amount is your pledge X 140. I’ll see if you do this and it will save me sending you a reminder. After a few days I’ll send an email reminder to those who may not have seen this post.

T-shirts will be sent within two weeks – am awaiting a new order which should be here shortly. BTW, the 140 species “guess” winner of a SR T-shirt was “rufus” from Minnesota. Congratulations!

But most important, THANK YOU! I cannot put in words other than “thanks” how meaningful your support has been to Starr Ranch (and me). Pete

05/05/12 Sorry for the delay in posting the Birdathon species list and write up of the day. Got the write up from Ed on Wednesday and then the rest of the week blew by prepping for “Family Nature Workshops” we had here today for approximately 150 people. Will try to post it tomorrow and if not, for sure on Monday. I’ll also try to get the BNOW PTZ cam fixed quickly.  From recent comments it appears there might be two adults making more frequent visits.  Would be great to be able to read their bands.  Pete

04/30/12 Thanks to all who pledged or gave outright to the Starr Ranch Birdathon last Saturday! Ed will be writing up how the day went and I will post this and the species list by Wednesday or Thursday. Preliminary tally is that we saw/heard 140 species – a new Starr Ranch record! Also, I say “preliminary” because it’s not uncommon as Ed and I go over the day in our heads to come up with a species or two that we didn’t record. In any case, look here for the link to the Birdathon results in a few days.

On another note, as most have seen from the comments the BNOW cavity is currently vacant most of the time. This is normal as fledglings disperse and adults “regroup” and possibly prepare for another clutch. But I believe there are some comments and pics that indicate either fledglings or adults have been briefly seen more recently in the cavity. I will try to get the PTZ cam fixed soon so we may be able to read some bands and tell who’s who and perhaps get a sense of whether the adult female has found a new mate. So stay tuned… Pete

04/27/12 The Starr Ranch Birdathon is just hours away from starting! I’m hoping to reach $100/species pledged before we start. We’re currently at $93.45/species! THANK YOU! Again, any pledge amount/species is appreciated. So, if you can help out, just click HERE. There’s also a place on the pledge page if you’d like to contribute a flat amount. And don’t forget that you can follow us during the day on Twitter where we’ll be posting highlights as the day progresses. You can get to our Twitter page and then follow us by clicking HERE. Thanks! Pete

04/25/12 Just a note that if you want to keep up with how we’re doing on our upcoming Birdathon click HERE to get to our Twitter page and then follow us. We’ll be tweeting throughout the day about the birds we see and other interesting observations. The Birdathon is this Saturday – just 3 days away!  But there’s still time to get a pledge in if you can! You can pledge any amount HERE. No amount is too small and is appreciated. Thanks. Pete

04/21/12 Am back from MI and as soon as I get time will post some pics of the Osprey project I was working on. Also will try to make time to fix the right PTZ cam. In the meantime, yesterday I noticed the Black-chinned Hummingbird had returned to last year’s nest (I assume it’s same female as last year), fixed it up, and as of this AM laid her second egg. So until I get the PTZ fixed and the BCHU page revised, the right cam will be on her. Last, the Starr Ranch Birdathon is next Saturday. We’re at $67.65 in pledges. If you can, please help us reach our goal!  Thanks.  Pete

04/12/12 Right PTZ is out due to what appears to be a hardware/wiring problem either at the cam or somewhere that I can’t quickly get at to fix. And of course…perfect timing: I’m leaving for MI tomorrow at 5AM to work on Ospreys. So I’m sorry but not much I can do before then. But will be on it as soon as I get back.  Pete

04/10/12 We recently passed our first 2012 Starr Ranch Birdathon Milestone: $50+ per species pledged! Thank you! Please help us get to the next one: $100. Thanks.  Pete

03/26/12 2012 Starr Ranch Birdathon - April 28, 2012. I believe most of you know by now that to keep everything going at Starr Ranch we need to raise a lot of funds every year. I also hope you feel I haven’t been asking very often for your support. However, our annual Birdathon is a way for us to potentially raise a lot of money by having a lot of people donate a little bit each and I’m asking you now to think about helping us out. Click here to see how our Birdathon works and how you can provide your support  – and even get a Starr Ranch T-shirt. There’s also a way for you take a guess at how many species of birds we will see or hear and win a Starr Ranch T-Shirt (No pledge required). And if you want to go with us for a great day of birding, you can do that too! Thanks. Pete

03/25/12 Prey not fully swallowed and appearing lodged… Remember these are BNOWs, not people. Happens all the time and 99.9999999999999999% of the time is of no consequence and it resolves itself. So no need to be overly concerned when you see this. It’s actually quite common. Also, every one of these chicks is now capable of reaching up to their beak and grabbing prey with a talon and pulling it out if they need to. Not trying to do so is a very good indication that it’s not a problem for it. Pete

03/24/12 Important behavioral concept Don’t confuse incessant begging with the notion that they are “starving”, or even that hungry. A chick that just fed will minutes later start begging. Probably because they don’t know if/when/where their next meal will come from so why not put out a reminder to adults (in this case the female)?

These chicks are doing great and any comments right now that they’re “starving” are unsupportable. BTW, not a half hour after I left the ground squirrel tonight there was a chick still feeding on it and the rest just standing around. Starving – no, HUNGRY raptors – don’t stand around if there’s food right there for the taking. Even if they have to jockey for position to get some they would be on it for as much as they can get if they were really that hungry. Pete

03/23/12 When these cams go down - It’s not because I shut them down – it’s server issues that I have no control over and it spontaneously happens. And when they do go down and, more important, as soon as I know they’re down, I fix ASAP. I have no reason to shut down the cams so you don’t see what’s going on because it’s gonna happen whether we’re watching or not.
Regarding #5, you all need to understand something – As much as you’ve become attached to it its ultimate welfare is out of my control. When it took off from the cavity for the first time yesterday it became “on its own.” If it comes back (or maybe came back) tonight is all about what they do and and there’s nothing I can, or would try to do, to change that. Looking for a #5 is less than impossible. These are wild birds doing what they do.
And this is not a zoo. Do not forget that. You are watching wild stuff, albeit I’ve been feeding them – which still troubles me a lot that I did. But it’s still wild BNOWs doing what they do. Please just try watching, learning, and not worrying so much. They don’t live by our standards and I can assure you they aren’t worrying like some of you might be. They’re BNOWs and are good at what they do. And let me say again – most of these fledglings will not make it eventually. That’s the way it’s worked for thousands of years yet they’re still here. I actually find it a little bit troubling that so much focus is on one or two individuals in this nest when all of us have destroyed habitat that supported thousands more of them. Meaning I don’t think it’s OK to be so concerned about one or two when at the end of the day we’re responsible for the loss of so many more, even if indirectly and unintentional. Think hard about what I’m talking about before you fire off a comment to the contrary. I totally get and accept the emotional part of all this. But there’s something bigger that needs to be part of the equation. Pete

03/23/12 A note on Cavity use after fledging: There is no set pattern of behavior that determines whether any/all of the fledglings will return to the cavity after they’ve taken flight for the first time. They may come back every night, stay out a few nights and then come back again, or fledge and never return. If anything, the process is more random with fewer and fewer returning as time goes by until none return.  And then typical the adults return to roost or have another clutch.
I believe when #1 first left it didn’t return the same day or for several days and now it has. From what you’ve all posted it appears #5 took its “maiden voyage” last night and didn’t return. This happens and doesn’t mean something happened to it (although this is not a remote possibility). In any case I’m quite certain that even though it still had a downy breast, its wing feathers were well developed and when it took off could fly. It’s not at all common for them to leave the cavity until they can fly, especially this cavity because getting to a perch outside the cavity would require the ability to fly – there’s nothing really that close that they could hop to. So let’s just wait and see what happens. However, you should know that there’s nothing I can really do to accurately survey after dark about who’s in and who’s out by trying to pinpoint different begging locations and doing a head count. As I mentioned the other day in a comment, there are two other active BNOW cavities very close by with chicks either begging from the cavity or that have fledged and are begging in the vicinity. So there’s no way for me to know who’s who, even if I was able to isolate the location of 5 different owls. Pete
03/16/12 Dr. Scott Weldy examined the Male BNOW. Unfortunately, his insides were too deteriorated for any analysis. Also there were no obvious signs of broken bones or other trauma. So, we will never know why he died. But just a reminder that the cause was more likely to be “natural” rather than poison, disease or something else uncommon. Again, on a relative scale these birds do not normally live a long time – the banding record that’s held for decades is 15 and we know he was at least 9. Pete
02/09/12 A note on fledging:
While BNOW typically fledge around 8 weeks the key word is “typically”. There is no set time and the female does not, and doesn’t need to, “coax” them to take their first flight. They will fly when they are ready to fly and not before. There’s also no upside for them to leave the cavity. They are getting fed there every night, right? So why leave?
So let’s just keep watching and learning and not get too caught up in when they may or may not take first flight. They will, in time, do so. But when they do has nothing to do with what we think should happen and when. We need not be concerned about this at all. It will happen when it happens. Pete
02/09/12 Some points on commenting on this site:
- Any off topic, rude, vulgar, etc. comments will be deleted without explanation. Repeat offenders will be blocked to the best of my ability. The criteria for what I’ll delete will be much like the US Supreme Court Justice Stewart described for pornography: “I know it when I see it.”
- If you post a comment and I write to you privately about it but your email address is invalid you will be immediately blocked from this site.
- No need to email me about off topic/offensive comments. It may take time but I will deal with them. In the meantime, DO NOT REPLY to them, just ignore them. As you might expect, a reply is just what the offender is looking for.
- Think very hard about your comments before submitting them. Most important, make sure that what you want to say is worth saying. Over use of “texting shorthand” is not a good idea.  Check your spelling and make sure your tone is such that if someone said the same thing to you it would be OK. Also, no need to follow up with another comment correcting typo’s. Unless it changed the meaning of what you wanted to say, let it go. We all will get what you meant.
- This is not a chat site. If you post a question or comment expecting an instant reply it’s not likely to happen. So please refrain from frequent reloading of the page looking for one. Give it some time and in the meantime enjoy watching the owls. Frequent reloading of pages is taxing the CPU time allotment for this site to such a high degree that the chances of me having to shut down comments is no longer remote. It will also cause me more problems and expense looking for a web host that can handle such usage.

Thanks. Pete

02/06/12 A note on the Male BNOW: In what I would describe as almost an impossibility or at least up against astronomical odds (and I think most biologists would agree) last Friday, 2/3/12, the male BNOW was found dead by Sandy’s field crew 0.6 miles north of the cavity in the corner of a grassland next to a small oak canyon. He was completely intact and appeared to have been dead for 2 or 3 days. Yet he’s been gone for approximately 2 weeks. What was he doing/what was happening to him during this time? A quick examine indicated no broken bones and no usual signs of starvation, such as diminished breast muscle causing a prominent keel. However, he is in the freezer and perhaps Dr. Scott Weldy from the OC Bird of Prey Ctr/Serrano Animal and Bird Hospital might be able to determine cause of death through some tests and necropsy. I believe it may be possible to test for anticoagulants that might have been picked up should the male have eaten a poisoned rodent (Note – no pesticides or herbicides are used anywhere on Starr Ranch but we are close by areas that do). It’s also possible that it might have been West Nile Virus, but I’ve been told that this is difficult to test for after the bird has been dead for as long as he was. Also, it just might have been old age. The Bird Banding Lab record for the oldest wild BNOW is 15 with 2nd and 3rd “place” belonging to BNOWs btw 12-13. This male was banded in 2006 at at least 3 yrs of age so he was 9 and could have easily been older. Bottom line is the male is confirmed dead and at this point from unknown cause(s)

A note on Fostering. The search continues for another cavity to foster some if not all of these chicks. Others and I have not given up, but this effort is very time consuming and often requires travel to remote areas that in some cases are now even less accessible because of road damage caused by flooding in Dec 2010. Nonetheless, we will press on. But I feel the need to raise something in hopes that it will better prepare you if we should be fortunate enough to find an appropriate foster nest. If we do the chances are greatest that the smallest chick(s) will be fostered. This means they will be removed from this cavity and you will not see them again. But more important it means they will have been given a much greater chance at survival than they have now. The supplemental feeding will continue, but as I’ve mentioned numerous times chicks require supplemental feeding by the adults for weeks after they fledge and it isn’t a given that continuing to put food in the cavity will get used at this point. Pete

01/26/12 A note on feeding. Almost immediately after I left food in the cavity last night the female returned and began feeding chicks. I think a few of you may have recorded this. It was an excellent opportunity to observe how feeding works. If you watch(ed) for any length of time you will quickly see that the female tears up prey and offers it, but not to any individual chick. And the closest, most aggressive, nimble, whatever-you-want-to-call-them chick grabs it. I have never seen her, or any other raptor, specifically feed an individual chick. HOWEVER, it can sometimes appear like they feed select individuals for two key reasons. 1) There’s enough prey to feed all chicks to satiation and 2) the chicks that ate first – and well – are less inclined to feed any more and simply stop and the ones still hungry are more able to easily get something. Pete

01/23/12 For those who have contacted the Serrano Animal and Bird Hospital/OC Bird of Prey Center please know that Starr Ranch has had a relationship with them and other professional raptor biologists for more than 20 years where together we’re doing as much as we can for raptors and raptor habitat protection. Here’s what SA+BH has to say about the current situation and I agree with their assessment:

“At present, we [Starr Ranch] are trying to provide adequate food for the remaining parent to feed the babies (not an easy feat since the nest is not readily accessible and the weather has been rough here) while field biologists are searching for nests with similar aged babies to foster. Hopefully, some of the babies will survive long enough to be transferred into an appropriate nest and fledge normally with foster parents. Removing and hand rearing the babies is not a viable option, since the babies will most likely become permanently imprinted (socialized to people) and non-releasable. They would then have to be found legal and proper housing for the rest of their lives (which can be more than 1 or 2 decades).”

I, along with several other field biologists, have already been working very hard to find another BNOW nest where some if not all of these chicks can be fostered. However, keep in mind that if we are fortunate to find a nest it cannot be one that already has a full clutch of even 4 – adding 4-5 more chicks to that would place the survival of all chicks in jeopardy.

I would like to ask that we all try to confine our comments to observations and that opinions and chat about what should be done be held. I think you all know by now that I don’t censor many comments at all on this site and I’m reluctant to start. As long as comments are respectful of others and contribute to our knowledge and understanding of these BNOWs, they’ll be allowed.

Last, the supplemental food I’ve provided these last two nights is something I’m extremely reluctant to do, notwithstanding it’s not that easy to do. Those who have been watching for the last few years know that I have said numerous times that I would not intervene – the only difference between this nest and ten’s of thousands of other nests is that we get to watch. And in this case we’re seeing what can happen when things don’t go as smoothly as we would like them to; the key word here is “we”. BNOWs and all other wildlife routinely deal with these kinds of scenarios and get though them just fine – even when death is part of the equation. I would also add that there’s a distinction between intervention and interaction. When I clean a lens, band the chicks, etc. I’m interacting with them in a way that is known to be nothing more than a short change in their routine that has no lasting affect on their overall behavior. Intervention, such as supplemental feeding, changes the outcome of their lives and affects not only them but other BNOWs and wildlife in the area. Please take a moment to consider that the death of an individual chick, and adult, or an entire clutch just might be what’s supposed to happen as part of the bigger picture.

Thanks you all for your comments, even when at times we might not agree. And those choosing to support us, an additional thanks. I’m really trying to do the best I can. Pete

29,273 thoughts on “2012 Comment Archive I

  1. A quick recap of this lovely romance for new viewers- the female started staying in the cavity during some days in the spring. The young male seemed to follow her on her forays into the night but we didn’t know for sure. Then in early summer he would inspect the cavity when the female was gone but scoot out by the time she returned. In midsummer, she would clutch her prey and block the door when he tried to enter because he had started to snatch her prey snacks. One day, while she clutched a pelt in her beak, he barged past her. It took a month or two for them to allopreen.

      • Right now, he may be mating without it resulting in a clutch. It may be only for bonding. When it does ‘take’, I believe it takes many days before laying an egg. I think it would be better for them if they didn’t have a clutch too early when it is still rather cold and prey may not be abundant enough yet to feed a family.

    • Awesome pic! I took the exact, well almost, same one from Feather’s video, which was also a treat! Thank you and Emma for explaining the Sephia thing to me. In the video his back was tan but his belly was white. In Emma’s pic he looks tan all over. Any way Many Thanks to Scylla, Feather and Emma for showing the rest of us what we may have missed.

  2. Both birds look cosy in the cavity at the moment, the male facing us, looking rather comical standing on his right leg, and preening occasionally; the female has her back to the camera on the right.
    Interested to hear there’s been another mating. When was the first? How long after the first (successful) mating should we expect eggs?
    There seems to be a lot of wacka-wacka sounds in the background, presumably Acorn Woodpeckers. Do they have a nut cache in the tree we can see from the branch cam?

    • Hey RtB I believe the first copulation on camera, took place sometime in October. It was an isolated event until about 10 days ago. It seems the hormones have kicked in. I’m not sure about your egg question so I will leave that one alone. The woodpeckers are, to the best of my knowledge, just pecking on bugs.

    • I had te same problem. If you look up at the top in the address bar you will see what looks like a piece of paper that has been torn in half. I clicked on that and it restored the cam which is flash player. Hope it works for you.

      • I didn’t see anything that look like a torn piece of paper, but I did a refresh to no avail. I used to get that camera up until the new pair or owls moved in. You don’t supposed they have “unfriended” me, do you?

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