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
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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.
Lilburn, Gwinnett County
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