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Date:         Tue, 22 May 2007 22:22:19 -0400
Reply-To:     Tim Rose <feralman@MINDSPRING.COM>
Sender:       Georgia Birders Online <GABO-L@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
From:         Tim Rose <feralman@MINDSPRING.COM>
Subject:      The Fledging of the Screech Owls
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii" ; format="flowed"

My seven year wait has finally paid off. This evening I watched Heathcliff, Catherine and Linton (in that order) leave the nest box, about ten minutes apart. Each one hung out of the hole and beat its wings vigorously for a while before taking the plunge. Each one flew a few yards and landed on a branch too thin to support it. They thrashed around for a while, getting their balance. The parent(s) kept up encouraging calls the whole time. The few times I could identify who was calling, it was the father. I didn't positively identify the mother but I'm sure she was out there.

For a long while there was a great coming and going of owls, the adults gliding quickly and smoothly and the young ones thrashing and flapping in all directions.

They also demonstrated their awesome whine-snarl-beak-snapping aggressive call. Not at me - I was at the other side of the yard at the time. Probably a cat. Earlier one came prowling almost at my feet as I watched the owls. I offered it an empty beer bottle but I think I offended it because it left in a hurry.

I had hopes the owls would come to my freshly cleaned and refilled bird bath but they didn't. Maybe I should have put up a sign.

It's strange now to look at the forlorn, empty nest box staring at me with its blank round hole. I could swear it misses the owls already.

Tim Rose Lilburn, Gwinnett County

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