Audubon Starr Ranch Barn Owls

09/05/14 I’m going to have just the 2 BNOW cams running on this page. If you want to watch all 4 cams, including the trail and “watering hole”, go to http://www.starrranch.org/blog/allwebcams.  I just thought it best with two video pages to try to be a bit more organized. Once the BNOWs reoccupy the cavity I’m hoping to have this page be the one more focused on comments about their activity, but feel free to comment on either page as you have been. Thanks, Pete

09/03/14 Audubon California is partnering with L.A. Audubon and Palos Verdes/South Bay Audubon on a project called Wild L.A. Parks, which will bring together teens to identify birds at city parks and educate the community about the amazing natural wonders right in their backyards. The Debs Arroyo Green team will partner with teen groups from the other two chapters. Other L.A.-based chapters will help out. We’re in the running for a $100,000 grant from the LA2050 Initiative – but we need votes to get the funding. You can get more details and vote HERE. Thanks, Pete

08/31/14 (my Mom’s bday…) OK, all systems should be go. While I am still going to try to get a better cam on the “SR Spa”, there are 4 cams running now, including the PTZ which is currently aimed at the new “branch office”. I still need to get back up there and put up an additional boom support and fasten some small branches on top of some metal hardware so if anything lands on it they’ll be protected and have wood, not metal for a perch. And…if you want to watch all four cams at once, try this: All Starr Ranch Webcams. Enjoy, and please feel free to use the 4 Video page comment section to also provide feedback/suggestions on this new look. Pete

08/30/14 3:30PM PST I have all the wiring cleaned up and 4 cams connected, but having some problems restarting the cam encoders. Jorge is on it. Keep reloading your page.  When he gets these fixed, you’ll see the feeds again.  And then I’ll follow up later with something else.  Pete

08/29/14 9AM PST I’ll be going up to the cavity in a bit to start installing the PTZ. But first I’ll check out the “mysterious” material on the cavity floor. I also need to shut down the cavity cam while working on the PTZ, but before I do I’ll unmount it and if the cable is long enough I will point it up inside so hopefully you’ll be able to see what’s above. Keep in mind that I’ll be doing this without a monitor, so bear with me… Pete

08/24/14 OK, here’s what’s going on. Yesterday I was able to construct a new “branch office” so the BNOWs have a perch near the cavity like before. Also built a new boom for the PTZ which I hope to get up there tomorrow. But I still need to do a bunch of stuff before that happens (I could share the details but suffice to say it ain’t simple). Today was spent getting the server back from Jorge and reconnected after reorganizing a LOT of cables and connections (still not done…). Am not fishing for thank you’s, which you all have been so gracious in giving – Thanks. Just reiterating that this stuff is not straight forward and there’s a lot that goes into streaming a webcam, especially ones in wild situations. So it’s still gonna take a bit of time before the PTZ is back up. Just know I’m peddling as fast as I can and I love doing this, but just so many hours in a day. Also, Gretchen just gave me a new template for the video feeds that I will share once I get all the hardware set. I think you’ll like it… Pete

08/24/14 2PM PST Server update. I just got it back from Jorge and should be good to go. But while it’s down I’m taking the opportunity to clean up and organize a bunch of cables, distribution amps, power supplies etc. So all cams (even the one feeding from Jorge) will be down for a while. But hopefully by 6PM PST things will be back to “normal”. Pete

08/22/14 Server update Jorge now has the server for troubleshooting and repair. Regarding the backup server, Jorge just needs to update it with some more recent software changes he made to the one that’s currently down. I’m hoping he’ll be able to make this happen this weekend. I also still need to get the PTZ up, but it’s been so darn hot! Any case am going to make an effort to get it done this weekend. Also, and I can’t recall if I mentioned this yet, but – brace yourselves… – the “limb” or “branch office” broke off during the trimming. It was going to happen sooner or later, but nonetheless was disappointing. But I have some ideas for getting something up to replace it mostly because it’s an important perch for both the adults and, especially, fledglings. Never a dull moment… Pete

08/22/14 7:30AM PST I just rebooted the server and, unfortunately, the same error messages come up so it won’t fully start. I’ll be in touch with Jorge shortly and will likely have to take it to his house because I don’t think there’s much more he can try to fix remotely. The good news is that when Jorge put together this server he also put together a back up server (good thinking, eh?). So I should be able to swap them and get us back up ASAP. In meantime, the cavity is still vacant (I can still see all the cams – just can’t stream them right now). However, there looks like a new pellet or prey remains are there that I didn’t see yesterday so perhaps someone visited last night. Pete

08/05/14 Important note. As I mentioned below about what needs to get done, Southern CA Edison will be here tomorrow AM to deal with the dangerous euc limbs overhanging our 12KV power line, not the least of which are some on the cavity tree. At the same time I will be dealing with other trimming needed which they can’t do. I WILL ALSO BE TAKING DOWN THE STATIC (LEFT) CAM on the cavity because I need to reconfigure it along with the new PTZ and I can’t do this with it in place. But rest assured I will get it back up there – along with the new PTZ – ASAP. But it may take a few days to do this. Just today I spent a couple of hours on just setting up some of the connections that are needed to keep both cams up and I have a lot more work to do.  None of this is plug and play.  Hope you understand. Thanks, Pete

08/01/14 Southern CA Edison is coming out early next week to deal with the big limb I mentioned below and also to top some other parts of these eucs to prevent them from possibly breaking off and landing on the nearby 12KV power line. The cavity euc is the tallest and is easily 120-140′ tall (remember the cavity is just at 40′) and becoming dangerous- not only because of limbs that may fall on the power line but limbs that may fall in general at anytime and when people might be nearby. So I’m looking forward to their help and to getting these trees to a point where they still allow the BNOW’s and the AMKE’s to use them but are safe. At the same time I’ll also be trimming up lower branches because these are just a catalyst to torch the whole tree (or whole line of trees) should we have fire thru here. In the meantime I have devised a new boom to mount the PTZ once this is all done an will do so soon after the trimming. Further testing of the new PTZ has me feeling pretty good that it will be a lot better than before and should offer us some great view once activity at the cavity picks up again – which I’m confident will. Right now I’m grateful for this hiatus in activity so we can do what needs to be done for safety and for the birds using these trees. Pete

07/30/14 Gonna take a little longer than expected to mount the new PTZ. Am realizing that the boom needs to be a little more heavy duty than the last one and when I was up there today I can’t say that this will be easy to do. But I will. However, another recent issue is that a HUGE limb broke off from the top of the cavity tree yesterday and is currently being held up there by a 6-8″ limb directly above the cavity and cam locations. If that gives way it will destroy anything I put up there. So I’m in the process of trying to get Southern CA Edison to clean this up cause this limb and other high branches are really close to a 12KV power line at SR or I’ll need to go up there and get it cleaned up. Any case, I’m on it but may take a while. Pete 07/29/14 New PTZ arrived and I started testing. I think it will work out nicely. One nice feature is built in IR LEDs that I should be able to regulate so what ever is viewed at night doesn’t get “washed out” by too much IR illumination. But testing is the easy part. I still need to build a custom connection because it runs on different power than everything else and I also need to put together a new mic. And then there’s the mounting boom that I also have to custom make. This cam is a lot bigger and heavier than the previous one and when I put it up there I need to have the ability to adjust the various angles, i.e. it’s not as simple as hauling it up there and bolting it on. Any case, I’m working on it and hope to have up by end of week. Pete

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.

“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: 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. She seems so fluffy now: not nearly as disheveled as the past week. Maybe she cleaned up in Bell Creek. She has been preening off and on since her return this early morn. When she picks up a foot, half the time debris comes with it. Wondering if she had abandoned the Ritz for a length of time hoping the ants, or other decomposers, would spruce up the Ritz’s floor. Now her eyes widened a lot — she had almost looked sleepy there before. A close-up of her chest is seen as she stands on the launching platform. Very few spots are shown. She may just be scanning the neighborhood – no evidence that she will take flight soon. Could this be the male – it is quite white and hardly spotted at all. Appearancewise, she looks like the female, but if so, she’s missing her “lots of spots.”

  2. An Ode to Our Owl
    Our mighty matriarch has long left her regal Ritz. She seeks some rascally rodents to hasten away her hunger, as her ticklish tummy has told her she must. Then she will fly fast and furiously to her home, the haven it is, to seek sleep, silently sliding away the dawn and the day until the dark and hunger harkens her once again. The PTZ seems to be showing a scad of scattered stars, finely filtered through lavish leaves of the eucalyptus tree. The sly Spidey has slathered the sticky wind-strewn web wily where she must enter. Tearing the web to tatters, the entrance is entirely open, although eerily empty, to eagerly allow our owl entr’ee. Hopefully, her mate will mature and momentarily materialize to tenderly touch her beak to beak. Perhaps parenthood may still push the pair to carefully care for those that pip through the eggshells, eager to exit said egg and grow graciously into, oh. . . . owls.

      • Hi Wynne and Emma, Thanks for kind words. That was going nearly 48 hours with no sleep. The frustrating part was I was writing it in the “Leave a Reply” screen, was almost done, then everything went No Stream found and it refreshed to an empty screen. Then I just did it in Notepad and cut and paste (since I was on a computer, not just my tablet I had that option). Not remembering much of it, I’ m sure the lost one was better, ha, ha!

  3. The ‘rain’ comments were interesting, considering that I am starting to plan building shortly. That, from my experience is a sure indicator of torrential rains coming our way, rain dances aside.

    On the other hand, even if it does start raining early in Fall this year in So. Cal, I wonder if that would have any great effect on owls breeding. Would (rat) food suddenly become plentiful? Or would the owls normally wait until Spring again, rats or no rats? ( I guess I am curious about the breeding habits of rats, :-D but also about the probable breeding condition of the owls in early Spring even if the drought ends.)

    PS: I believe most countries ban the export of their exotic birds (parrots) now. However, many are still raised in Florida and California. Either way, a wild animal generally makes a bad domestic pet . With a parrot your fingers become precious indeed.

  4. Sunday’s Lake Visit…
    First, there is another chapter to the Canada Goose pair and the non existent eggs on which the female sits! This afternoon, as soon as I stepped out of the car which was at least 50 ft from the nest located at the base of a tree, the female CANG rushed across the parking lot and stood by her nest. The male came toward me with his bill open as I’ve seen him do when he’s warning me to get away (my interpretation). Within a few minutes, the female wiggled herself down onto the nest and settled. Her behavior still strikes me as odd and guess I’ll have to do some research about CANG! It’s been several weeks that she is sitting on a nest without eggs, but rather rocks!!!!

    Second, in the last couple weeks while I’ve been visiting the lake more consistently, I’ve noticed that sooner or later as I walk around, a Snow Goose begins to follow me coming closer and closer each time I’m there. Today, I sat down on a curb and extended my hand and the goose hurriedly waddled to me. I have never fed it, nor done anything that would seem to encourage it to seek me out, but it does follow me. I am astonished!

    It was a short visit today but I did see another Canada Goose family with four young, a few Cormorants sitting on rocks and a Mallard pair with a young family (possibly hatched within the last 24 hours}. All other critters appeared to be tucked in some cooler spots instead of being out in the open, well except for many many pigeons, that is!!! :)

  5. Tecolote, I’ve been doing some hunting online — looking for California history on the Virginia Opossum. So far I’ve seen 1890 and 1910 as dates of introduction, but that’s not the important message for you.
    One site I found went into great detail on how to care for orphaned opossums and seemed quite legitimate. That website is: http://www.opossum.org/orphans.htm put out by the National Opossum Society. Some of the other sites are largely fluff, but this one seemed to have useful ideas and recommendations for care. I am guessing you have already found it during your own investigations, but once I started reading their literature I felt I had to mention it to you.
    I’m very sorry about my mistakes concerning your post this morning. Please try and forgive me. I hope the opossums do well at your homesite. That they are largely taking care of themselves is great news: the heat surely dehydrated them and your providing needed water was the key.
    Good night to you and your wards.

    • No worries Lynn, I have made mistakes here before, on things that I have written. I did not trip over your comment either. Funny how I have seen these possums in CA most of my life; and knew very little about them. Amazing 55 teeth, & 13 teats in the pouch; to begin with. Thank you for the link on orphans. Maybe they were weaned too young, due to loss of their mother? They seem OK, being wild animals. There is plenty of food in the orchard for them. The part about not being able to go to the bathroom is a concern. Now that I saw this. Hopefully old enough?
      They have been around for about a week now. So maybe they are mature enough, not to need any interference?. The odds are against them; if they get on to other ranches, where there is feral barn cats, & use of snail poison. I’ve thought about catching them, so they could grow out some more. Then move them to the creek part, of this farm. For this reason only.They are eating. I see signs that they are. It’s been a couple days since I have seen them. Still every AM I see signs that they have been wandering around in the night. To put food out is a dicey move. They need to learn what is natural here. In order to stay wild. Also doing this, can cause dietary issues. Many sites give wrong advice on feeding. I found this interesting….
      http://www.opossum.org/diet.htm
      As for putting food out?. Curbing this idea greatly. With what I have learned. So far. These are wild animals. They need a wild diet. Pete has the right idea, when it comes to wildlife.

      • I think you are doing right by the little ones Tecolote. They would have exploded by now if they weren’t eliminating on their own. I’ve had to do the manual method on tiny kittens before — a bit gross, but you get used to it. They likely know they have a good thing going by staying near your safe yard. Water access should be the only thing they need if it’s a ways to the creek area.
        The links about diet are worrisome — I bet most people who feed them out of kindness do give the wrong things, or items containing excess vitamins. Instinct should guide them as to what to eat.
        I liked the picture on your link of the opossum in glasses — maybe the editor of the site making sure correct info is sent out.
        Glad that all seems to be going well at your home.

  6. For those of you who live in Orange County and get the Register, did you see the today’s article on Birds of Prey, on the front page? Our experience with our female is not unusual. There are only 4 active nests in our area, due to the drought. Scott Thomas talked about the worst breeding year on record, 90-95 % failure rate. Pete even had quoted remarks. So in your spare time I found the article to be most interesting.
    Speedy recovery Mother Nature.
    Thanks goodness the heat has subsided.

    Gammy

    • gammy thank you for telling us about this article. It was a fascinating, but upsetting, look into what we had already sort of surmised. Would love to learn more about what Scott has found out – including his rodent availability studies.
      Let’s all pray that El Nino brings us some much needed rain for the next few seasons – then we might be able to watch what a return looks like.
      I guess I hadn’t realized that our below average rainfall dated all the way back to 2000 – that’s 13+ years!
      Maybe if we all start doing rain dances now…….

      • Hi again Wynne, I haven’t stayed off, have I? I agree that we need more rain — increased water conservation will not be enough for long. In response to what you said, I just remembered an old adage that has been around for years. In looking for whom to give attribution of the quote to, all I could find was a lengthened version by Eminem in “Careful What You Wish For” (2009) the chorus (I’m sure he was not who I know the quote about wishes from, but the additional two lines does reinforce the message):
        So be careful what you wish for,
        cuz you just might get it
        and if you get it then you just might not know
        what to do with it cuz it might just come back on you tenfold
        After droughts, we wish for rain, then there is so much rain, the resultant floods become far worse than the drought. . . . .and so on. It happens in California every decade or two. Yes to rain, but just enough rain, not enough rain to flood out people. This is what came to me during your rain dances — don’t dance too hard.

    • Not good. I see very few bird of prey. They used to be so very abundant. There is way too much use of rodent poisons, used by the farming community. It’s sick. Also if birds of prey eat possums? They can be poisoned by snail poisons too. The other problem is people have these ideas that hawks, & owls, eat dog, cat, & fly off with small children.
      Maybe it’s time to place flyers on bulletin boards at feed stores & farm supply places? I see ads for barn cat there. Why not just place owl nest boxes up, instead?
      The rabbit community, is providing the Condor project, with rabbits. Same for some raptor projects. Birth rates are down. Even with rabbits. May be more to this?

  7. I’m about 1 1/2 from home, good trip to Phoenix, had some amazing food but happy to be leaving the triple digit weather.!!! I am so happy to see our owl showed up this morning….yippy
    Mothernature, wishing you a fast recovery with minimal pain.
    eugenia, Welcome & so happy you are being added to Patti’s amazing list…also loved your Xena, Xenia, Zara, Zoey, Zoe….:). Looks like you will fit in perfect, another good sense of humor!!! Luv it
    Feather, thank you for the video of the returning owl this morning and thank you all for your comments & pix to keep us in the loop when we can’t watch it as often as we would like too.!

  8. What would you say to putting the “Lurkers List” (just kidding) in the right column so we can refer to it quickly. I often want to quickly know someone’s location when they comment about weather, or a species, etc.

    • I like that idea but since it keeps changing not sure if that would be a problem. I copy & paste it to my email so I can refer to it easily. When reading comments, I too want to know where someone is located & having it in a easy place would be awesome.

    • I have a MS Word page that I keep on the bottom bar of my screen where I keep things I want to refer to quickly. In that is this list and whatever else I happen to be doing for our group (instructions for getting t-shirts, etc.). So whenever I want to see where some poster is, I just click on it. Such a delight to have these international participants along with our US ones. In that regard, WELCOME EUGENIA!!!!!

      • That’s funny Patti. I can see her fine in Emma’s pictures below, but I looked and looked and refreshed the page and looked and she was gone. I’m just glad I didn’t bet the house to someone that she was gone: I’d be sleeping in my car. (NOTE: I’m not trying to make light of the problems in our society that have forced many families to live in their vehicles — that is just deplorable that it occurs in our country.)
        And, on that cheery note, I hope Ms. Owl’s hunting goes fulfillingly tonight, and that everyone has relief from any aches and pain and is able to sleep through the night –including myself as I have been awake for over 38 hours straight. Hey, that will be my excuse for making several mistakes on this site today. If I sleep some tonight, I will be back to my perfect self in the morning (ha, ha, ha,,,ho,ho,,,ha,ha!!!)

      • I missed it until you pointed it out. How wonderful is that – to have someone from yet another country? I do hope that Eugenia decides to comment, at least once in a while.
        Thank you so much for maintaining this list for us, Patti. You are a GEM! (Grandly Excellent Maintainer)

      • Hi, emma. I noticed that when she was here a few days ago. I seem to remember that they tend to molt during the time when they are incubating and tending to the owlets. Maybe, since that would normally be now, that is why she is looking a bit ragged.

  9. Speak of where the wild things are? 2 orphan babies; (that I have seen) possums have come to my place. They live wild around here. Mostly in the creek, & river areas. A non-native marsupial animal. The vultures first showed up. I’m guessing the mother was hit out on the RD. Then these babies showed up. At first, not knowing much about these animals. I felt the rabbits may be in danger? They are not. They get along. The babies were so thirsty they came right up to me, while I was watering. I placed a water dish out for them to drink from. I have not touched them. They wander the gardens at night. Eating up all the snails & slugs, These are very small. They do eat on their own. . I hope they stay in the garden areas. Possums eat mice. They also like to eat the earthworms in my garden.
    Other ranches have feral cats. I wish more ranches would put up nest boxes, to lure BNOWs, for mouse control; than keep barn cats. Owl boxes are catching on. Every ranch/ food grower, that places owl boxes up. Is a ranch, that I wish to support, by buying their products. I let them know this is appreciated. People, & wildlife can live in harmony.

    • Tecolote, It’s wonderful that you help displaced/abandoned wildlife. We have “possums” and skunks that often come through our yard (we’re in a densely packed, single-house block in a bedroom community). They get into everything they can, dig up mainly plants that have bulbs to eat, others for fun, and both have odors to a differing degree. Still, we sort of enjoy seeing them. The baby “possums” (and baby skunks) are very cute, but the adults get somewhat large (medium dog-size) and have the most teeth in their mouths than most any mammal other than the dolphins. They will hold their ground and hiss and mouthsmack, but they’ve never rushed at us as if to bite. We sort of ignore each other as much as possible to avoid confrontations.

      The only problem I have with your comments was the statement “A non-native marsupial animal.” The Virginia opossum, which is the animal we have in the US (and it’s found in Mexico), is from here. At one time, the marsupials were a major group of animals in the Americas and filled just about every conceivable land niche. The American marsupials evolved about 15 million years before any reached Australia (many people think there is the only place that has marsupials — rather, they have only marsupial mammals and no native placental mammals). The oldest marsupial fossil (at 65 million years) was found in Montana. As the placental mammals evolved, they displaced and eliminated all of the marsupials in the US except for the Virginia opossum. There are still over a hundred species of marsupial in Mexico, Central and South America. The US has only the one.

      • Lynn, yes the opossum is native to the United States and the Americas, but not to California. This, from the CA Department of Fish and Game: “A common to abundant inhabitant of moist woodlands and brushy habitats at low elevations. According to Jameson and Peeters (1988), introduced into California first in 1910 at San Jose. Now occurs widely in western California along the entire coast and interior, west of Sierra Nevada/Cascade axis, with a few records in northeastern California.”

      • Oops, I owe Tecolote an apology. I obviously did not know the local history, that the opossum was introduced to CA. Why would they do that — not likely for their fur. . . maybe for the meat??. . .or maybe a pet released sort of on purpose? I’ll look into that aspect. Thanks Wynne for pointing this out to me.

        I’m sorry Tecolote — I shouldn’t have said you were in error without me doing some research. I over generalized with what I knew of the animals’ prehistoric origin in the country. Mea culpa.

      • Hey Lynn, if you hadn’t said that, then I wouldn’t have looked it up. Which means that I would never have known either. That’s what I love about this group, we share what we know and research what we don’t, then share the results of that.
        Learning is a wonderful thing!!!

      • I was trying to learn about possums. Found myself in a odd place, with 2 babies looking me up for water. This was mid-day. They were in a bad situation, being dehydrated.. Laugh if you will?. These are trying to make a pet out of me. I found in reading so far; 1906 as to the date, that they came from Virginia. Who knows? Anyway, the possum has been part of CA for over 100 years. . I really did not know much about them. Some people hate them. Others have written info, as to their benefits. Eating snails, slugs, grasshoppers & mice. Is an organic food grower’s friend. They are not messing with my food crops. They clean up, what is not appealing to anything else. There is much fruit, that falls to the ground here. Lot’s of Avocados & earthworms..They can have it. They are shy creatures. Only come out at night. I may, or may not see them again? I’m glad to learn about them. Less concern this way. They know I am part of the garden in the daytime. To leave drinking water, is not really messing with them. They were very thirsty to come up to me like they did. I’m glad they feed on their own. Still very young & very small. I’m sorry, that they had lost their mother.. I hope they stay in my yard. Until they grow out a bit. In respect to being in my yard. This 50 acre ranch, includes a river, & a barrancca with a running creek. Lots of 100 plus year old trees on the acreage. So wildlife does roam here. I can only imagine these will be on their way to the river, someday. When the teenage hormones kick in. These will go to be with others of their own kind. There is many possums in the creek bed, & along the river. It was nice to learn about them this week. It’s not the first time I have seen wildlife here. Animals do come & go. After all, this is the wild, wild, west.

      • Not too long ago, I had a baby possum come onto my driveway. So I started doing some research on them. Did you know that they don’t get rabies because their body temperature is too low? From what I read, it is around 94.7 degrees F and rabies can’t survive at that level.

  10. Emma, I see that you posted not long ago. I tried to signal you like you had me, to tell me of a comment by you, but what I did put the “alert” message under everything we’d already said and seemed unlikely to be seen. Let me cut and paste some from that message, to see if it comes up closer to current time:
    __________ repeat message follows –

    Lynn on May 18, 2014 at 11:51 am said: Link to comment #160786 Reply ↓

    Emma, I’m trying the way you signaled me earlier. I’m not sure that I’m doing it right, but I did look at your comment, than made one of my own in response to yours.

    If the link doesn’t come up automatically (I clicked the “link to comment” box), I am also pasting the info, I think, myself:
    http://starrranch.org/blog/comment-page-72/#comment-160720

    Oh well, have to try new things every once in a while.
    _______new additional words follow –

    This is not working either, I’m afraid. Anyway, I did receive your message of a while ago — thanks for the heads up.
    It’s all confusing to anyone reading this box I’m sure — sorry.

    • Hey, Lynn – what you do is: 1) go to the comment that you want to refer to; 2) right click on the “link to comment #xxx” at the top of the comment; 3) click on “copy link location”; 4) go back to the current comment you are making and do a paste where you want the link to show up; and 5) et voila!
      Have fun!

      • Thanks Wynne, It sounds fairly easy when you describe the steps, but I’m sure I’ll mess it up. Earlier I’d decided I wasn’t one for photo pasting, and now I might decide the same thing about linking comments. I’ll probably try it again, at some later time. I haven’t had much success with posting today, so maybe I’ll just read for awhile. I had gone through the FAQ’s to seek instructions, but found nothing. Is this knowledge something certain greater beings are born with, or did you just figure it out on your own? Thanks though — like I said the other day, you are always helping out.
        Have a fun evening.

      • Let’s see, Lynn – I think Pete or emma or someone mentioned the right click on the link several months ago. As to posting images, I was a good bit denser – it took the FAQ on posting captures (towards the end Trish wrote something on that), emma, Pantha, feather AND the comment at the bottom of the “Leave a Reply” box, along with a bunch of trial and error before I finally “got it”. Actually, the first one I posted successfully was one that someone had trouble posting (much like yellowthroat’s the other day) – that is where I learned that proofreading it carefully first was all important. It has to be exactly as shown in the instructions, with the direct URL link to the photo pasted where it says “url to your image” – and no spaces.
        Keep trying – I know that you will “get it” too. I look forward to it.

  11. It is nice to see Ms. Owl dozing on such a comfortable day for those of us in So Cal. Sorry to those in Arizona. Unsure of temps in New Hampshire, Idaho, Alaska, Canada, Italy, Great Britain, and all the other areas we have “members.”
    I use that term loosely — no membership form or dues, just posting your name and location for Patti’s list. Then you become what I used to call SRWatchers, but that term “watcher” still doesn’t quite set well with me: brings to mind the NSA or peeping toms. SRPosters is too close to posers for me. So, how about SRMembers??? You can always contribute, more, to the Starr Ranch so you feel a sense of ownership in the operation. Those that have a Starr Ranch t-shirt coming soon can treat it as a membership premium or token and wear it proudly like a badge of honor. Pete may have a problem with that term — confusing for those that ARE members of the Audubon Society? . . . . . . . . . . Sorry, but I have sort of lazy day today — causes me to muse.

  12. am doing splendidly– yes, i, too, am a big fan of deep breathing and remembering that this, too, will pass and every day in every way i just get better and better– and looking forward to a shower with a garbage bag over my shoulder. i know all your good wishes help, and a wonderful neighbor, AND seeing a beautiful owl in the ritz and not in a cafe– tragic that.

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