Date: 6/4/19 2:34 am From: Alfred Maley <alfredmaley...> Subject: [NHBirds] Barred Owl Nests Drop From 7 to 4; Production Late and Sparse
It’s only a small sample, but here in Hampstead the number of occupied
Barred Owl nest boxes has dropped from seven last year to only four this
year. In addition, fledging was later than normal and fewer young seem to
have been produced. With fewer fledglings it’s harder to ascertain exact
fledge dates, but the owlets seem to have fledged about June 1, later than
the average of May 20-22 and much later than the earliest dates of May 15.
Speculation is that the absence of a cone or mast crop last year put food
stress on Barred Owls last winter, as evidenced by the number of daytime
roadside owls and highway fatalities. A shortage of food would prevent the
females from accumulating enough fat reserves to begin breeding, and may
have affected the number of eggs laid.
This is all part of nature, but it points out once again the important
absence of the chestnut trees in our forests today. Because they flowered
late and were unaffected by frosts, they may have served to even out the
mast supply. We’ll never know for sure.
In any event, 2020 is coming and I would not be surprised to see a recovery.