Date: 5/14/18 10:06 am
From: Alfred Maley <alfredmaley...>
Subject: [NHBirds] Young Barred Owls Spilling Out of Nest Boxes All Over Hampstead
I checked the seven occupied Barred Owl nest boxes in Hampstead this
morning and found fledged owlets, owlets sitting in doorways, owlets
waiting their turn and parents in various states of alarm. There is great
synchrony in Barred Owl fledging in my experience and the peak day seems to
depend on the weather back in March. This year I think it is May 13-15. In
some years it’s been May 20-22. In any case most of the nestlings emerge on
the same dates in any given year. Must have been some party back in March.

The female owls that are guarding the owlets vary widely in their reaction
to humanoids. The one in our yard never made a sound, habituated as she was
to our continual presence. Some females click their bills in protest, but
are otherwise silent. One female continually gives the loud, upward
inflected WHOOP and flies around in a defiant manner. But the strangest of
all was a female this morning that gave alarm calls like I have never heard
before. At first I thought it might be a turkey hunter, practicing. The
call consisted of hard-to-describe smacks, squeaks and even a kek-kek-kek
like a Cooper’s Hawk, all emitted while she flew around me as I approached
the box (which has three young.) There’s always something different.

Coincidentally, there were three pairs of Red-shouldered Hawks and three
pairs of Louisiana Waterthrushes amongst these nest boxes. I’m pleased to
think that I was involved in preserving the lands on which five of these
nest boxes, all of the waterthrushes and two of the hawk pairs are located.

Al Maley
Hampstead, NH

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