07/23/14 I should have a new PTZ on July 28th. This one is truly for outdoors, and has built in IR and a little higher res than before, yet cost about the same as the ones I’ve previously used that didn’t have these features. However, it will require some custom mounting (I want to be able to quickly adjust the boom angle should eggs get laid in a corner that might not be very visible) and special wiring. In any case, as soon as I get it I’ll be working on setting it up. If you want to see what one of these cams looks like you can here. The nice folks at SuperCircuits gave me a 10% discount and free shipping. Pete 07/22/14 Day time right (PTZ) cam. We have a small herb garden in an old water trough by our house and this little drip has been attracting birds. Among others, have seen Lesser Goldfinches and Acorn Woodpeckers at it. So I figured I’d share it during the day because I’m having trouble getting the second of three PTZ cams working properly (#3 is still way up in another tree that I’m hoping RSHAs will use next season). So today will be looking into buying a new one. I’d like to get something up at the cavity soon, especially while it’s occasionally empty. Pete 07/15/14 PTZ update. The original PTZ is “unfixable” so I climbed to the RSHA nest from 2 years ago and took that PTZ down to use on the BNOWs. However, it too has a problem but is one I think I can fix. If so, ideally I will put back up next time cavity is empty during the day. But if it remains regularly occupied during the day I may climb up right before dark to install. If she takes off a little earlier than normal will not be a problem for her. Pete 07/09/14 HOFI nest update. Sometime between Monday night and Tuesday morning the nest either fell off the ledge on its own or was knocked off – and not necessarily by a predator. The latter is much more likely because when we discovered the nest on the ground among it were deceased chicks which by this time were almost completely consumed by velvety tree ants (a very common scenario; velvety tree ants find and consume dead wildlife often and incredibly fast). In discussing this among ourselves we are hard pressed to come up with a predator, especially since the chicks were not taken. Mice and wood rats are known to predate eggs, but not likely chicks, and it’s possible that a rodent was scurrying along the ledge and got behind the nest which caused it to fall. Avian species like crows and ravens are known to take small chicks but it is such a tight spot that I have a hard time imagining either being able to get in a position to do this – and they would have taken the chicks. In any case, I’m interested in any thoughts any one has. Feel free to comment below – I will see it. Also, an important reminder – mortality like this is WAY more common than not, especially for chicks that are lucky enough to fledge. Fledgling mortality rates are typically 80-90%. Pete 07/07/14 For those who like watching the trail cam at night in hopes of seeing something, check out this page: http://starrranch.org/wlife_video.html There are some pretty cool videos there. Pete 06/29/14 There’s a short section of Bell Creek behind our house that still has a little water. So several species of birds, and even a bobcat, have been seen drinking out of it though out the day. So before it dries up and while there’s nobody home in the BNOW cavity, I’ll be switching the left cam to it. Pete 06/19/14 Twenty+ t-shirts are going to the P.O. in the next hour. Also some pellets to “mrsanderson” for her class to dissect. In meantime I still haven’t heard from some of you regarding what size/style t-shirt you would like and/or fulfilling your Birdathon pledge. For details look for emails from me on 5/29 and 6/12. -The original HOFI site has a new nest and this morning there was one egg. So I’ll be moving the cam to it. -This AM there were fresh cougar tracks in front of our house which is about 100yds from the trail cam. It was walking in that direction. So there’s a chance that one walked by the cam last night (they often take this route). Jorge has motion sensing set up on it and I’m about to check with him to see if he got anything last night. Pete 06/15/14 I’m gonna try to replace the PTZ in the next day or two, but have to say it’s a bunch of work. Don’t have a spare so I need to climb up to the RSHA nest and pull that PTZ and use it. Also need to some other config changes to use it at the BNOW cavity. But in any case I will – and want to – get this done soon. Will also get the HOFI cam focused better. Didn’t realize until today that it could be better. BTW, the HOFI in the first cam position just started building a new nest… Pete 06/11/14 I just moved the daytime HOFI cam to a nest nearby the previous one we’ve been watching but that is gone now and showing no signs of being rebuilt. HOFIs have been building this nest over the last few days. Hopefully they will finish and lay a clutch of eggs. Also, please see my 06/05/14 post directly below. I haven’t heard from several of you. It would be very helpful if you could get back to me as soon as possible. Thanks, Pete 06/05/14 T-shirt and Birdathon Update: – I haven’t received responses yet from some of you who already donated to the birdathon and are entitled to a t-shirt. If you’d like a shirt, please look for an email from me sent 5/29/14. – Also hope to hear from those who need to fulfill their pledge and in some cases are entitled to a t-shirt. Again, please look for an email from me sent 5/29/14. – Yesterday I got some more t-shirts so now have a supply of all sizes and styles and will be sending to those who provided me their name, address and t-shirt size/style. – Latest pellet count winner, Lynn, asked if in lieu of a t-shirt I would send “mrsanderson306″ some pellets for her class to dissect. How cool is that? Thanks, Lynn! But I’m happy to do both and have emailed mrsanderson306 and you for your info. Thanks, Pete. 06/04/14 Going forward, t-shirt winners should use
- not to email me their name, address and t-shirt style/size. I have been getting hundreds of spams a day on the “tshirt” email address which get automatically deleted and I fear I might be missing some winners. So I’m disabling it. Also, the new “tshirts” address in my opening sentence is encrypted so hopefully spammers will have a harder time grabbing it. But if you click on it above it should open an email addressed to it. This also means that it shouldn’t be shared in a comment by typing it in (although I think Gretchen may have set things so that an email address entered in a comment may automatically become encrypted). Any case, I want to do all I can to deter spam. Lynn – I put in a comment below for you to send me your info to the old email so I can send you a shirt after your recent successful pellet count win. Please use this new one. Wynne and others who help manage the t-shirt contests/wins – I’ll contact you separately about how to share the new email should you need to in a comment. Thanks. Pete 06/02/14 Took the PTZ down today to troubleshoot, fix, or replace. In meantime, while down there will be no sound at the cavity because mic is tied to PTZ (but static/left cam will still be on). There’s a mic connected to the static cam but it’s bad and that fix is a different can of worms. Anyway, when it gets dark left cam will be the cavity and right cam will be the trail cam until I can deal with the PTZ and get it back up. Thanks now for your patience and understanding. Pete 05/15/14 Finally, HERE is the 2014 Starr Ranch Birdathon Recap. As noted there, if you remember your pledge amount you can fulfill it using a link provided. Otherwise, all who pledged and/or get a t-shirt for: being the first to guess the number of species we’d see/hear or the 100th bird OR pledged $1 or more per OR donated $100 will get an email with details. In the meantime, thank you all so much. Pete 05/06/14 Starr Ranch Birdathon – we broke the record! But just by one! 175 species. And under the conditions, if I say so myself was amazing that we were able to. But I was with three top notch birders who made it happen. Any case, recap, species list, t-shirt winners, etc. will be provided in the next day or two. In the meantime, thank you all who donated or pledged. Pete 05/05/14 There’s a House Finch nesting under the eve of our office and I just put a cam on it. I figured that during the day I’d stream it to the right PTZ. While the BNOWs (and other raptors) aren’t doing so great this year, some other birds are still able to do what they do so well. Pete (I’ll switch back to the limb PTZ when it gets dark.)
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.
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: 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
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
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.
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 —