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Audubon Starr Ranch Barn Owls

04/23/14 Who are these people? Well, they are three of SoCal’s (and beyond, I’m sure) upper echelon birders. These guys are good. Very good. Left to right: Bruce Aird, Steve Alter, and Tom Ford-Hutchinson. Why am I recognizing them here? Because over the past few weeks they have been scouting all over Orange County looking for rare, vagrant, unusual, ANY and ALL bird species in preparation for the Starr Ranch Birdathon – our biggest fundraiser.  This is where we spend 24 hours trying to log as many different species and take the final total and multiply it by the pledges/species we received.  This is where you folks can help.  With only two days to go we are at $22/species pledged.  Our goal is $200 per.  So if you can help out – ANY amount pledged is appreciated – we can strike out knowing that each species logged will really help with some much needed support for Starr Ranch.  Details and how to pledge or make a flat donation are HERE Thanks, Pete

04/01/14 Just a reminder that a pledge to the Starr Ranch Birdathon (scroll down for more info on our Birdathon) is not required to have two chances to win a Starr Ranch T-shirt or a free ticket to attend any raptor banding event we have here. Click HERE to see how to enter (details are about halfway down that page) Pete.

“It’s Starr Ranch Birdathon time!”

03/31/14 Yes, it’s that time of year when we have what has become our biggest fundraiser for Starr Ranch – The Starr Ranch Birdathon. I know many of you have been contributing already via the egg pledge and elsewhere for these Barn Owls and I can’t thank you enough. Your generosity makes all the difference when it comes to keeping these cams (and hopefully more) up and running. But we still need to raise a lot more money to keep everything else going at Starr Ranch as well. From our education classes for all ages, to habitat restoration, to something as basic as keeping our buildings in shape – these all require financial support. So, if you’re interested in learning what a birdathon is all about and helping us out you can click HERE for the details. Thanks so much! Pete

11/21/13 I believe Wynne has already taken some guesses for when the first egg will be laid (assuming everything goes well).  And I’m going to ask her to give me the details of how more of you can participate so that I can post them here.  In the meantime, the winner will get David Sibley’s Guide to Bird Life and Behavior.  Good luck, all!  Pete

From Publishers Weekly:
“This National Audubon Society publication details the 80 families of birds found in North America, with hundreds of Sibley’s acclaimed full-color paintings, maps, charts and illustrations. Topics range from the familiar—migration, feeding, mating, nesting—to the esoteric, including feather structure, eye configuration, DNA classification, evolution, hybridization and much more. Readers will learn about bird respiration, metabolism, excretion, vocalizations, senses and intelligence, among other subjects.”

 

10/27/13 Male BNOW ID Some of you may have seen me trying to zoom in on the male’s band yesterday. As it turned out I was able to read 8 of the 9 digits (couldn’t get a glimpse of the last one) and they were the same as last year’s male (1947-1742?). So I have a high degree of certainty that this is, indeed, the same male.  But will need to read the last digit to be 100% certain. If it’s a 3, it’s him.  Pete

10/25/13 An opportunity to visit Starr Ranch and help us out too…:
Help us protect our native habitat! Please join riparian restoration interns Nikki and Michael for some stream-side weeding for 15 Saturdays throughout November to May. Please see our flyer for dates and more details! Starr Ranch Weed Warrior Flyer

10/02/13 Three things:
Sandy and I are at Arrowhead Lake for the CA Invasive Plant Council Mtg that Sandy helped plan, is on a panel and giving a paper. So remotely changing the PTZ cam from cavity during the day and limb at night is a bit difficult. However, I will monitor the cams and fix if they go down. Will be back Saturday.

There’s an important bill in the CA Assembly that can use letters of support sent to Governor Brown. It’s AB711 and it seeks to get lead ammunition banned. Among other things, it is well documented that lead ammo and/or its fragments – that can end up in game shot but not collected – gets picked up by scavengers, not the least of which are some raptor and mammal species and often results in mortality. Details are here and provide an easy way to send your letter:
If you live in California send the Governor an email.

Were having one of our biannual Family Nature Workshops at Starr Ranch on November 2. If you would like to attend, details and signup can be found here:
November 2, 2013 Starr Ranch Family Nature Workshops
Thanks, Pete

08/24/13 2:00PM PST Jorge here to do some upgrades to the server so cams may be down for a bit. Pete

08/21/13 I talked to someone today who said they saw the Huell Howser show on Starr Ranch just the other night. Here we don’t ever know when it’s gonna re-air. But it is on YouTube and we think a pretty nice piece on what goes on here. If anyone’s interested in checking it out:
Huell Howser Show on Starr Ranch

Pete

07/17/13 We now return control of your “television set” to you. (Any of you remember “The Outer Limits” TV show…?). Anyway, spent today trimming a lot of dead wood outta the eucs and a lot of low suckers and branches that would be really volatile if we had fire through here. This also opened up some views to other perches, particularly beyond the “branch”. Pete

07/17/13 Tomorrow the cams are gonna be down for part or all of the day. I need to do some trimming of these eucs, especially around their bases that have lots of suckers, so if we get a fire here we don’t lose them. Will also be routing some wires better (like right now the wire that powers the IR spot on the limb gets driven over 50 times a day and needs to go in a conduit). So please bear with me and know that things will be back up again come nightfall. Pete

07/05/13 Sandy and I taking a long weekend and will be back Sun afternoon. In meantime, while I can change the cam remotely, am gonna leave it on the B/W night view until we get back. Also, I read where you folks say it looks like the 3 fledges are being “weaned”, so to speak, and the adults are starting to be the ones showing up on the limb and in the cavity. Exactly how it’s supposed to happen… And – challenge still on. Time guess of first arrival (fledge or adult) and prey drop gets a Starr Ranch t-shirt. Winners – see directly below. Pete

Independence Day, 2013 I think we need to agree that if two previous non winners guess the same time and it turns out to be the right guess for first appearance on the limb and first prey drop, the first one who guessed the time(s) is the winner. Also, to help me keep track (not miss emails) of winners so I know what kind and where to send the shirt, if you won, please send the following (in the format below) to: tshirt@starrranch.org
Screen name
Name
Address
Let me know:
Youth or Adult
Long Sleeve or Short Sleeve
SM, M, LG, XL, 2XL
(Note – Youth is short sleeve only and SM, M. L.)
Thanks! Pete

07/02/13 You folks are AWESOME!!! While there are still some donations that came by mail that need processing, Starr Ranch received over $12,000 in contributions towards the 2:1 match. This support is just tremendous and I can’t thank you all enough. Really, a heartfelt thanks to everyone. Pete

In response to the questions about $12K+ in donations during the match period actually meaning $36K+ to Starr Ranch the answer is YES! A HUGE boost to the $250K+ we have to raise each year to keep everything going. Thank you ALL! Pete

06/21/2013 In case you get a glimpse the fledgling band numbers, oldest to youngest, are: 1947-17516, 1947-17517, 1947-17518

06/18/2013 If you’ve been watching and never donated to help keep this cam going – as well as everything else here at Starr Ranch – now would be the time to do so. Until June 30th ALL DONATIONS WILL BE MATCHED 2:1. For example, a $100 donation is actually $300!!!  Talk about getting a great bang for your buck!  So please consider helping us out with a donation of any amount.  It takes real dollars to keep the wheels on everything at Starr Ranch so your support is needed and deeply appreciated. Also, this match applies even if you’ve donated in the past – which means it doesn’t just apply to new donors.  The key part is that it starts today and will end on June 30th. Thanks,  Pete                    Donate HERE

06/07/13 I’m going to move the PTZ to the cavity since it seems the chicks are occasionally standing on or near the lip during the day. Also, if you want to check in on the House Finches, we have a page set up for them HERE. Pete

06/06/13 Cooper’s Hawk banding at Starr Ranch, Sunday June 9th, 3-5PM. While Cooper’s hawks are one of eleven raptor species to nest on Starr Ranch they are one of the more uncommon ones. However, we do have some active nests this year and at one I’ll be banding the chicks on Sunday. If you would like to join me and also help raise funds for Starr Ranch you can make a reservation HERE. Pete

Immature Cooper’s Hawk

06/05/13 We are deep into fire season – things are dry, dry, dry and fire danger is high, high, high at and around Starr Ranch. If any of you would like to volunteer for the South County Fire Watch that Sandy was instrumental in forming, HERE’S what it’s all about. Thanks, Pete

05/31/13 We have a Star Gazing event tonight at Starr Ranch from 7-10PM so I won’t be able to work the PTZ. But I’ll check in afterwards to see what’s going on.  And on Saturday evening will try to work the PTZ for a while. Also, if I can get to it today, I’m going to switch the PTZ during the day to a House Finch nest that’s incubating a second clutch.  Pete

05/30/13
Houston, We have lift off…
From feather.  Thanks!  Pete

Chick #1 Complete Branching Mini-Series (complete and unedited)
Lift-off clip: http://youtu.be/mn0Ih4Kq-Is
Branching: http://youtu.be/9hZ4Wy246Cg
Branching: http://youtu.be/VxJifanCDOc
Branching: http://youtu.be/3Td57o_24hY
More Branching/Return?: http://youtu.be/Vq0mWlfyFOE
(This is what I got – hope it’s complete and in order)

05/17/13 Just want to let you know that I’m still editing the RSHA and BNOW banding videos and hope to make available soon. Also, those of you who are getting a Starr Ranch t-shirt through generously supporting our Birdathon, I just got some in and will ship early next week. Pete

 

 

05/05/13 Banding Today: I’m going to try to webcast the banding today. If so, it will begin around 1PM PST. If not, I will definitely have a video of all of it available shortly. If the cams are down or working erratically between now and this afternoon it’s likely because I’m trying to set up the webcast. Thanks. Pete

 

 

05/03/13
Still some spaces left for this weekend’s raptor banding at Starr Ranch:
Red-shouldered Hawk Banding Saturday May 4, 3-5PM
Barn Owl Banding Sunday May 5, 12-3PM

04/29/13 Banding Day I’m going to band these BNOW chicks on Sunday May 5th, 11AM-3PM. If you’d like to join me, details and sign up are HERE.  Banding events like this one are also an important fundraiser for us. Hope you can make it!  Pete

In the meantime this VIDEO is of the GHOW banding we did here on April 20th.

 

 

Saw Whet Owl chicks

Saw Whet Owl chicks

04/22/13 The Starr Ranch Birdathon is rapidly approaching (It’s next Saturday!) and I could use your help reaching our pledge goal. This is an important fundraiser for us – it helps keep the cams and everything else going. Any pledge amount would be really appreciated. Details are HERE. Thanks! Pete

 

 

 

04/20/13 A few notes about the demise of the 4th chick to hatch. This is not uncommon. You all have seen how the chicks hatch over the course of many days and given they grow quite rapidly the size difference among siblings can be significant and since the female does not feed each individual – i.e. makes sure that they all get something to eat – the youngest, and therefore smallest, chicks have to compete with larger chicks who more easily get in front during feeding and often get most of the food. The female did NOT kill the chick. There is absolutely no reason or stimulus for her to do that. Think about it – she goes through all that effort to lay the eggs and incubate. Why on earth would she then kill one? Last, she or perhaps one of the chicks may eat a dead chick. But that’s just efficient us of resources. Pete

04/19/13 GREAT HORNED OWL BANDING.
We recently discovered that a Great Horn Owl cavity in Bell Canyon previously thought to be inactive this year actually has two chicks in it. And they’re ready to band. Sorry for the short notice but we’ll be banding them tomorrow (Saturday, April 20) at 3PM. If you’d like to attend click HERE for details and to sign up.

If you’ve never seen young Great Horned Owls up close, I can assure you that they’re pretty amazing and not something many get to experience. I hope you can join me.

I just learned I’ll also have an adult rehabbed Great Horned Owl here for the banding so I’ll be able to show you some of their remarkable features.

 

04/17/13 Two troubleshooting tips:
1- If you’re having trouble viewing and want some help, please email me the browser and operating system you’re using, their versions, and a detailed description of the problem. Without this info there’s little I (or more likely Gretchen) can do to help and we’ll just have to reply asking for this info before we can.
2- If you’re hearing ads while watching any Starr Ranch cam I’m willing to bet you have another tab or browser window still open in the background on a site that plays ads. We do not advertise on Starr Ranch cams – or any where else on our website – except to display logos of certain vendors who are helping us to provide these cams. “Ad-free” at Starr Ranch is so you can hopefully have the best and most distraction-free experience watching, learning and sharing. On the other side, and as you might expect, this means it costs more to provide the cams and is one of the reasons we ask for your support. Pete

04/11/13 It’s Birdathon time! This is an important fundraising event for Starr Ranch where we ask for pledges of any amount for every species we see or hear in a 24hr period. This year we’ll be doing our Birdathon on April 27th. Please consider supporting our Birdathon so we can keep providing the nest cams and conducting all the education and habitat restoration programs at Starr Ranch. Click HERE for Birdathon details.
These Bald Eagles are just one of the more uncommon Orange County species we hope to be able to add to our Birdathon tally.

04/01/13 Sorry for the delay, but I want to say a huge !THANK YOU! to those who have mailed us support. It is so very much appreciated and, again, critical to us being able to keep these cams up. And also add more cams – I just put online a Red-shouldered Hawk nest cam. Again, thank you all so much and apologies for anyone I missed. Pete

Ann and Monica, Anonymous (several), Mr. and Mrs. Bernhard S, Bill and Mary Ann, Brian N, Carla W, Cecilia M, Christen and Ben, Mr. and Mrs. Chuck L, Claire S, Cynthia H, Cynthia S, David T, Mr. and Mrs. Edward S, Eileen H, Eileen M (every month), Ellen M (every month), Evelyn R, Gordon O, Hank and Karen, Jackson B, Janice K, Jean M, JoAnne P, Joel T, Mr. and Mrs. John H, Joyce R, Julie C-D, Kathleen C, Kathy C, Kay M, Linda A, Linda F, Liz and Willie, Neva W, Paul M, Penny S, Phillip G-J, Rebecca M, Richard P, Robert D, Ronald and Donna, Rosalie W, Roy and Ilse, Ruth M, Sandra A, Sandra S (Emma), Scott F, Sherry R, Steven L, Susan R, Tom R, Virginia M-J, Virginia P, Wendy M, Wilhelmina S.

03/30/2013 - We’ve set up the BNOW page on new host. Please note the url is http://owlsmatter.com/blog/barn-owl/.  Comments have been enabled for the time being. If you have trouble logging into your account, try clearing your browser cache first, but you may have to use the ‘Lost Password’ link to reset your password. —

03/28/2013 - While comments are temporarily down (and we continue to scramble for a fix), I wanted to thank all those who have donated to help “keep the wheels on” this site. As you might expect it takes a lot of time and money to keep it all working and your support has been critical. I want to give a special acknowledgment to all of you listed below, who have given online this month or last. Tomorrow I’ll list the people who’ve given through the mail recently. So, big thanks to recent online donors Adelaide, Alison S, Ann S, Anna H, Annette L, Audrey C, Barbara O and Barbara D, Beegies, Bernice D, Beth, Birdmom1, Bonnie, Bookwomyn, Carol S, Carl S, Catherine L, Cathy D, Chris S, Cici, DBW, Daniela Z, Daniella Marie, Dean S, Debra A, Delice F, Del, Dennis G, Diana W, Diane G, Diane M, Donald H, Eileen M, Elizabeth A, Ellen M, Erica S, Feather, Gina A, Glynette, Grahame, Henri, Hindi, Jack D, James N, Jane VK, Jean S, Jeanne L, Jeanneen C, Jeff A, Jenee G, Jill M, Jlese, JoAnne P, Johnnyjoe, John and Karyn, John C, Joy G, Joyce T, Kate M, Kathy S, Kathy G, Kika, Kristi B, Lila D, Linda T, Linda B, Lisa J, Lisa R, Lnmay, Lunar, Lynd B, Lynn P, Madeleine V, Marcia G, Margaret M, Marlene H, Melanie M, Melissa A, Michael C, Michele L, Mimi, Miriam S, MJ G, Moonseer, Natalie G, Pat S, Patricia M, Patti in Marin, Patricia L, Paul G, Paula P, Peggy C, Polaris, Popshib, Rachel_writer, Rebecca C, Rhonda L, Robert B, Rufus, S McGregor, Sally H, Sarah H, Scylla, Sheila C, Shirlee F, Skeptocat, Stephanie C, Susan F, Susan W, Suzi T, Svh77, Sweetles, Teresa G, Tess G, Tom B, Torre T, Trish G, Wildflower, Woodstock, Wynne and Yvette. (Apologies to anyone I might have missed.)
Thank you all so much. Pete

03/28/2013 - First hatchling emerged at around 12:30  last night. There is a lot of commentary, links to videos, etc…, on the Starr Ranch Facebook page. — Gretchen

03/26/13 - The CPU usage on this site is still getting hammered beyond acceptable limits with our web host (see below) so comments are temporarily shut down. Sorry about this but it’s either shut down the comments for now until we find a fix or the whole site could go down. Again, please bear with us as we try to remedy. Thanks. Pete

03/25/13 - When I looked on 3/22 Friday evening around 6PM, it appeared to me as if one egg had clearly pipped.  However given how much time has passed without hatching, this was probably not the case.  Anyway, if we assume incubation actually began in earnest on 2/23 or even 2/24, today would be about 30 days for the 1st egg.  So let’s just all take a breath and see how things unfold.  In the meantime, please pay close attention to what Gretchen has to say below about using this site.  If everyone doesn’t cooperate, this could crash this site at a very critical time…  Pete

03/25/13 Please Read - We’re experiencing a huge load on our server as hatching approaches. I’ve enabled page and browser caching to help compensate for this. A side effect is that other people’s comments may not show up for several minutes, even when you refresh your browser. Please be patient. Try to avoid refreshing more frequently than every 30 minutes.

If the site does not appear as you expect it to, for example, when trying to comment, please try refreshing your browser and clearing your browser cache before reporting any problems. If you do report a problem, please tell me what browser you are using and provide as much information as you can about what you were doing when the problem occurred. Thanks —

03/14/13 Bandwidth Economy – Something you can do that’s simple and will help me a lot is when you aren’t watching just click on both videos and they should go right to the BNOW chick pic and a play button, effectively halting the stream. When you return, just click the play buttons. This has the same effect as shutting down the page and the videos, but has the added benefit of not having to reload the page to start watching again. This is faster for you and also reduces CPU usage required to reload a page.

I would add that what Gretchen, and Jorge, and others are doing to provide these views and the commenting capability is no small task. They, and other folks, are working really hard on this – because we know it’s something most will never get to see. We’re just trying to give all a relatively simple way of watching a truly wild situation unfold in the rawest sense and learn from it. Put another way – THIS is pure REAL LIFE “Reality TV”. Ain’t no director overseeing this script.

So please have some patience if you experience any problems watching (but do let me know about anything). In the meantime, trust me, we’re on it. And at some point it may come to what all of you also need to do to help us keep this page up. More on that later. Thanks, Pete

03/04/13 Here are the egg dates I got from Hibiscus (Thanks!) so far. If anyone has corrections or perhaps a tighter time frame for any, please email me and I’ll update. Pete
Egg 1 02/22/13 02:11pm
Egg 2 02/25/13 03:00pm – 02/27/13 04:00am (Duration of power outage)
Egg 3 02/28/13 06:00am – 06:50am
Egg 4 03/02/13 12:09pm – 12:36pm
Egg 5 03/05/13 02:42PM

03/01/12 Where’s the male today?  While more likely when there are chicks, and especially older larger chicks, it’s not uncommon for the male to remain out of the cavity during the day. There are plenty of sheltered spots for him to roost. Of course, there’s always the possibility that something happened to him, but the probability of this is very low against him simply just roosting elsewhere for the day.  Pete

02/23/13 Research Project for Today: Most raptors, including BNOWs, typically begin incubating eggs after the first egg is laid. And since it takes approx. 1.5 to 2 days for the next egg to be laid, hatching is sequential – first egg laid hatches first, second usually hatches at a later time that corresponds to how long after the first egg it was laid, and so on. But here are some questions: At what stage does an egg need to be incubated so that the embryo inside remains viable? For example, if it was just laid can it sit for days with out incubation starting because no development has begun? If it’s been incubated a week, how long can it be left “unincubated” before it will require renewed incubation to bring it to hatching? After 2 weeks? 3 weeks? A few days before hatching? I actually don’t know the answer to any of these questions. And I’m also being lazy…I’m asking you folks to do my homework for me! So, if anyone cares to research this and post some info, I’ll look at the comments later and put the best explanation here. In the meantime, a little more on what’s going on right now:

BNOW incubation is typically 28-30 days. While I expected this female to start incubating right away, that she hasn’t isn’t alarming to me, but interesting. I also have fairly high confidence that she will lay more eggs. And she initially exhibited behavior right after she laid this egg that clearly indicated she “knows” what to do – tucking it under her, pulling apart some old pellets, etc. – in fact she was just doing that as I typed. So my sense is that the probability that everything works out as it should is high. We just need to wait and see. Pete

2/18/13 An interesting development. You know the GHOWs we’ve been hearing close by? Well they decided to use an old RSHA nest which is three trees over and about 25′ away from the cavity. A female is currently sitting on eggs in it. Pete Bloom reports he’s had them as close together as three feet (!). In any case, there’s no reason to believe they both won’t successfully raise broods. But I suspect it will nonetheless be exciting as things unfold. Stay tuned… Pete

02/10/13 Some of you mentioned enjoying the pic of a BNOW chick that comes up briefly before the video feeds start. Linda Jones took this photo, as well as many other excellent wildlife pics. Check out some of her others at OC Wildlife Pete

 

01/25/13 Two things for today:
SPAM – There’s a type of spam that is fairly prevalent and that seems on it’s face innocuous. The spam filter on this page picks up most of it and it never makes it to the comments (I’m talking 100′s of attempts). But when one gets through it’s usually a comment that says nothing specific about the BNOWs but is often complimentary – something like: “I never thought of that! So great to see folks so knowledgeable about this subject.” And a tell tale clue is often one word having two letters reversed (like “sujbect” in my example). The spammers are looking for a response and especially for someone to click on the link associated with their screen name or somewhere else found in the comment. Doing this is where you can really get the full brunt of the spammers nastiness.

In any case, there was one on this site yesterday, was called to my attention, and I deleted it. Just asking that you watch out for these and ignore them.

PTZ – While the PTZ cam is a good one, it is not designed for outdoor use. Outdoor/weatherproof PTZ cams I have found are in the range of $2,500; the current one cost about $700. So that’s a major reason it’s not an outdoor cam. However, I retrofitted the current PTZ so that’s it’s fairly weatherproof. But sometimes damp/rainy weather can affect it and do two things: 1) Fog the lens and 2) Cause the PTZ control to be erratic. E.g. if you were watching when I moved it from the limb to the cavity you may have noticed a lot of “overshoot” on zooming and panning. That’s because when I wanted it to stop it wouldn’t… Experience tells me this behavior is unique to damp or wet days and rectifies itself when things dry out. In any case, I moved it because I wanted the lens to point downward to try to minimize any water getting in through the lens when it’s normally pointed upward towards the limb. Pete

01/08/13 Huell Howser passed away yesterday. For those who didn’t know Huell and his various television shows, he was a California icon and brought into thousands of living rooms shows about many of California’s unique, interesting, and often unknown people, places and activities. He visited Starr Ranch in 2011 (I just updated the link to the show in the right column) and was just the nicest, most engaging person – the kind that makes even total strangers completely at ease in his presence. You also might want to check out Audubon California’s blog for more on Huell. Pete

10/29/12 An opportunity to visit and help us out at Starr Ranch!
From Sandy: Help us remove streamside weeds along Bell Creek! Please join our interns, Andrew and Maranda, for a half day of weed work on 15 Saturdays from November through June. Click HERE for the PDF flyer.

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  1. Becky, had you previously been to Sanibel? My sister recently built a house there and I’ve visited the last 2 years. I hope to go at least once every year. It’s magical. If you like birds and other wildlife, it’s a fabulous place to be. The 1st time I was there was when I discovered the Osprey. I fell in love. They are my favorite raptor. I love their call. I appreciate how the locals, Sanibel, Ft Myers and surrounding areas, put up the platforms for them. My sister was going to put up one, but 1 neighbor complained when he found out. He doesn’t like their call. Being new, my sister decided not to make waves, at least for now. There is a pond in the back of Barb’s house and she gets lots of visitors I.e. Ibis, egrets, blue herons, ducks, alligators, songbirds of different types etc. I was in heaven. Ding Darling is a great place to go. My brother-in-law rides his bike though there everyday. Each day is a new experience. Becky, I’m so glad you had such a good time and that you can visit again. It does indeed make a great day for bird lovers.

    Sandy in Omaha, NE

  2. Hi everybody! I have, most recently, just been perched. I check in on M’lady off and on daily, read all the comments, and watch all the videos. I was always a bit concerned about this egg’s survival. My heart is heavy tonight, just like all of you, with the recent turn of events. She gave all the indications that she was new at this, but instinct is everything. I have to think that “our lovely owl lady” knows best. Her mate was not stepping up to the plate. He only seemed to care about his needs and not hers. I’m a novice when it comes to owls, but the lack of alopreening and prey gifts said volumes to me. If he could not provide for her, how could he take care of the babies. His amorous behavior was clumsy at best. He never seemed to be mindful of the egg once it was laid. There were many times I was concerned he would step own it. I’m not bashing the Mr, I just think M’lady just may know what she’s doing, new or not. As Snowl said, I feel sad and proud of her
    at the same time. I like many of the comments written here and think they bring comfort. I especially like thoughts of Telcolote, gammy, Bonnie, Emma, Plowie. Thank you to all of you that comment, document, post videos and generally just make this the truly great site it is. It’s a family and we all share in this loss. On the positive side, we know the Ritz has a history of joy and success. I look forward to watching a future BNOW family and chatting with all of you again. Pete and Starr Ranch are fabulous hosts. Feather, Pantha, Scylla and anyone else who posts videos, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I truly felt connected even though I could not watch at certain times. I met a couple of Facebook friends here and I am grateful for that. BJ, Wynne, JoAnne and Plowie, thank you for all the times you spent on lists. I know it was time consuming and very much appreciated. Thank you to all who have contributed here. I have learned more than I thought possible about BNOW and wildlife in general. My life is richer for it. I am going to miss the daily chatter. My days won’t feel the same for awhile. I wonder what M’lady will do. Will she stay, will she go, will she still have visitors etc. As we’ve observed, only the owls know. In fact, should Pete keep the cam up, I will still check in to see the Ritz and M’lady. Thanks again everybody. I’ve enjoyed spending this chapter of Days of our Owls with you.

    Sandy in Omaha

  3. Very exciting for me last week. I was on Sanibel Island, FL and saw an Osprey nest. She was feeding 3 chicks and the male was bringing prey. I was standing directly under the nest which was on a platform. It is amazing how close we can get to nature. Also on Sanibel is the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge which we drove through and saw so many different species of birds. It was truly a great day for this bird lover.

  4. Hi, all – I sent Pete a note earlier today about her no longer incubating her egg. I had mentioned to him that maybe it was no longer viable because she spent so much time hunting the last few days and so it had become over-chilled. Also mentioned that I was amazed at her choosing not to continue incubating when I had read so much to the contrary about incubating mothers.
    He has given me permission to use what he told me. He said (in part):
    “I think it has more to do with low prey availability = male not very successful = she had to hunt or starve = stay off too long and game over.
    I’ve also watched raptors incubate eggs way beyond the typical hatching day so perhaps something else kicked in. Maybe she has an internal trigger that “says” I don’t have the energy to keep myself going so there’s no way to keep raise a chick so might as well call it quits now. In any case, this isn’t surprising. Raptor surveys in general over the last few weeks in our area are showing an unprecedented number of raptors not nesting – especially RTHAs (me – Red Tailed Hawks). Consensus is there’s simply not enough around to eat (likely caused by prolonged drought.)
    BTW, Scott just told me he’s going to do some small mammal live trapping next week and may be able to get a sense of population numbers/trend.
    Any case I hope folks continue to come to the BNOW page because this is where I’ll ” pass on messages. “And everyone should feel free to use the site to stay in touch with each other as much as they like.”
    It will be interesting to hear what Scott finds out. Meanwhile, may I suggest that we all just keep watching and commenting, but not count on seeing another clutch this year. If we really do get an El Nino this next winter, maybe things will be different next spring.

    • Thank you Wynne for contacting Pete & relaying his expertise advice to all of us. I am wondering if she will continue to use the Ritz. I’d hate to see it empty. My heart is sad even though I understand the whys, I agree, it is better to end it now than it would be more painful if it were to hatch and not be able to survive.

      • PinguC, Scott will be “live trapping”. To me, that means catch, mark and release, thereby not taking anything away from the raptors and others. As I said above, I think it will be very interesting to hear what Scott finds out. Maybe Pete could ask him to give us a synopsis of what he did and what he found out afterwards.

  5. I love her! She’s a smart, and naturally, an intuitive little owl. RedFox and I have been very concerned that we would see tragedy if she and the owlet had no food because the male didn’t provide for them. We feel both sad for her and proud of her at the same time. Nature is always the best teacher. Thank you, Pete and Starr Ranch. Such a worthy cause to support. We’ll be sending our egg pledges out to you this week. And thanks to all of the writers and photographers who participate on this site. Although we are mostly observers, we never regret starting and ending our days right here with all of you. :>

  6. Hi everyone, I’ve been out of touch for the past 3 weeks and had hoped to see the egg had hatched. Sad to see this may not happen. I am sending my egg pledge + extra. Also, everyone consider a pledge for the upcoming Birdathon. A wonderful way to help Starr Ranch and show our appreciation for everyone a the Ranch.

  7. Nature has a way of balancing life. Unfortunately, it just makes me so, so sad. A personal note, I miscarried my first baby, and I just told myself that there was a reason for this. I had to move forward as does our sweet Mom. Hopefully Tecolote’s positive attitude will bring us more eggs soon.

    • I’m too am sad about the egg. I guess seeing babies, & nests fail (rabbits). I have to try to look forward. Not easy at times. Trust the mothers, in nature.. They know better than any human.
      In a sad way. I had doubts about a single owlet making it, to begin with. Knowing rabbits. A single, helpless, baby seldom makes it. To loose the egg is not as hard; as it would have been to loose a further developed owlet. Odds never were very good, with a single egg.
      It is still spring. Many birds are nest building at this time. There still is hope for the Ritz to show us all, some new eggs & possible owlets. I found this site due to sadness of loss, in my world.. Loss of life is always sad, for those left behind. We have keep on living. So do these owls. They are still mating. So there is still hope. Like Pete has said. “They are hard wired for survival”. I like that saying. I learned from all this. We all should look forward. The Ritz has hatched many owlets over the years. I’d like to think this year is not a total loss, just yet.

  8. Hello everyone, this is Bonnie, from the old bunch of Mr. and Mrs. Spots watchers. This has been such a different pairing and nesting from the very beginning. I havent seen this couple have a hood time like the Spots family did! Not the same anywhere in the documentation that you all have done at all! I wonder if this female is older? The men in her life have been terrible! Mating and stepping on her head almost like non caring for the males. Not al all like Mr. Spots, who was almost silly over Mrs. Spots and hardley ever left his mate or those awful whiney, spoiled off spring of his! There is really a difference in behavior here!
    in observation.This makes in her nesting, this time anyway,with indifferent males, if there was more than one?. Well, its to bad that she has stopped setting. No one here would want this female in grief. Poor little gal! I wonder if she will lay again this year? So long everyone. Glad to see the good folks like Emma still here and the others so faithful. Owelways, Your Friend From The Central Coast of Califia, Bonnie

    • Hi Bonnie! I’ve been here for many years too. Glad to see you commenting. I posted several weeks ago wondering if perhaps she was an older owl, but one just never knows in nature. We have a viewer/location list going for the fun of it and if you would like to be listed with the rest of us, just reply here what city/state you reside in and we’ll add you. Thanks,
      Patti

  9. The scene has changed….
    e7532c42-7d83-4c42-88cb-57b3697efa83_zpsc8d124c5.png
    As I’ve watched this pair, I have been reminded over and over of Pete’s words over the years which were something like…..’ the owls have done this for a long time and they know what they are doing.’
    It appears that this female knows what she is doing even if we don’t -. and perhaps what she is doing is what it takes to survive.

  10. REMINDER: The 2014 BIRDATHON starts on the evening of APRIL 25th! But for now…..

    Perhaps one could write a little book about the story that has unfolded since the last clutch fledged and we all waited anxiously to see what the next chapter would be in the saga of the STARR RANCH BARN OWLS!

    During our wait:
    1. we honed our guessing skills for the comings and goings of BARN OWLS (as if WE can predict what nature’s critters choose to do) and won SR tee shirts as our ‘badge of honor’.
    2. many participated in WHAT IS IT challenge activities and won BRAGGING RIGHTS and even MEGA BRAGGING RIGHTS!
    3. some viewers even won BNOW pellets to ‘behold’ and ‘admire’ (including Mrs. Anderson’s classroom).
    4. there was also the ‘guess when the first egg will be laid’ challenge that generated lots of interest!
    5. recently the ‘when will THE EGG hatch’ challenge invited viewers to once again try to figure out nature’s plans
    6. several have shared poetry, written poems, joined in the ‘let’s create an alphabetical list of
    Barn Owl related vocabulary’ just for the fun of it
    7. we observed the suspenseful thriller …’Which Owls are Gonna Get the Ritz?’
    and the most recent chapters in the ‘story’ have included
    9. ‘WHOOO is that?’ ‘What is He Doing or NOT Doing?’ ‘Where are the Deliveries?’ and ‘Where is She?’
    9. ‘BIG BLACK BUGS,’ ‘THAT MOTH’ and the ever-so-entertaining ‘SPIDEY!’
    10. ‘who are the viewers and where are they from?’

    Of course this riveting story has not ended, many more chapters will be written. And we are all privy to this story (up close and personal) because of the National Audubon sponsored STARR RANCH SANCTUARY and our gracious cam host PETE! And now is the time that we can again show our support and appreciation by contributing to the 2014 BIRDATHON that is the major fundraiser for STARR RANCH. Can we make the next chapter about the SUCCESS of the 2014 fundraiser?

    No amount is too small to pledge! It all adds up for that final goal.

    Click HERE to see how to pledge and/or enter guesses.

    • Nicely put emma, we do need to concentrate on the positive things that have happened and brought so much joy to all of us. I am so happy to be part of this wonderful SR community and meeting so many interesting and nice people on this site. Our list is continuing to grow and how nice it is to see all the different cities, states and countries that are joining in together for the same love of wildlife interest. There is always something new to learn and can’t wait to see what is next in all of our lives. Still hoping for a miracle to happen.

  11. I’m so sad to see her standing. I’ve read through all of the comments from last night and it seems she has given up on her own egg. She knows best. Perhaps at this stage in the egg development she should have been hearing a little chirping and she hasn’t. Oh well, only the “owl” knows for sure. Sad though! Patti

    • Hi Patti,
      The MR & MRS. are still mating. Perhaps another clutch will be laid? Last night was a really cold night. For the CA south land. This is not a good year for babies. I see it; with the rabbits.
      Perhaps she will lay a new clutch, with more eggs; sometime this spring? If so? I’ll pledge money on those. Maybe we should create another egg guess. On when the next 1st egg will be laid?

  12. Good Morning! REMINDER: If you would like to be added to our list of names/locations please hit the reply button in the upper righthand corner of this post. We would love to have you join and see how many people are watching and where they live (city/state/country only). The list has grown to 138 names/locations in 31 States and 5 Countries. I’ve tried to catch all names since the last list was published on Saturday. If I missed anyone, my apologies and just reply here. Please join this wonderful group of owl/wildlife lovers. Thanks and have a great day! Patti

  13. The Decorah eagles in Iowa had laid 3 eggs, 2 at the end of feb and 1 early march, than along came the cold sleet rain below 0 temp it was so cold that the raptor resource center felt that the eggs could not survive that frigid cold. but with such a dedicated pair of bald eagles the eggs are hatching 2 have hatched and the last is pip and beautiful bobbleheads they are!!

  14. Friday morning. Female standing beside her egg. As optimistic as I’d like to be, it does seem very unusual for the female not to be more consistently incubating as she seemed to be doing for the first three weeks. The egg is 25 days old today.
    femaleandeggnotincubating4414_zps5f54307f.png

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