Thursday, June 25, 2009

Backyard Bonus Birds!

Eastern Screech-Owl (red) digiscoped w/APO Televid 82 scope & D-Lux4 camera

I first noted her in the nest box in February 2009. I'd had Screech-Owls nest in the backyard box almost every other year, but until now I'd never had a red plumaged female! These birds were far more shy than birds in past year, only really showing themselves at night and emitting soft calls. The smaller male bird was gray and was very hesitant to show himself, but again we knew he was around due to his continued calls. None-the-less, I wondered if they would be successful knowing that the yard would get a lot of traffic.

female Eastern Screech-Owl delivers a partially eaten Brown Anole, 5/4/09

During the hectic spring migration, I didn't have much time to check the box and for a while I thought the nest had failed. Surely by this point if there had been young in the box, the female would be roosting in the mouth of the box to get a break from the restless youngster(s) inside.

female Eastern Screech-Owl image taken with Leica V-Lux camera 5/4/09

Then one night in early May there was a new noise. An incessant high-pitched chittering from the box. Babies!?!... It was too dark for digiscoping so I ran in and grabbed my V-Lux camera and waited expectantly by the box. Moments passed before the female arrived with most of a Brown Anole hanging from its beak. She posed for two quick images before flying out of sight into the brush to the left of the box.

Eastern Screech-Owl chick , Florida, Leica V-Lux camera 5/4/09

I looked immediately to the box and sure enough a fluffy youngster appeared at the entrance.

two Eastern Screech-Owl chicks waiting on food, 5/4/09

Then another appeared. The box entrance was stuffed with fluff as was, but it wasn't over. There was bill-clacking and jostling and before I knew it a third little fluffer had forced its way into the crowded box entrance. It was an hilarious scene, although I was afraid they might be stuck that way for life!

and one more makes three... Leica V-Lux image, 5/4/09 Florida


  1. Wow- those three chicks peeking out all at once are priceless!! I've never seen a red EASO- we just have gray birds 'round here. Cool series!

  2. Thanks Willy! flash photography is not my specialty, you would have done better!

  3. The three birds looking out is really cute stuff.
    - ben warner

  4. Thanks Ben! it was surely fun to see as well. wish I'd been around to see how they did at fledging.

  5. Oh I love this photo of the three chicks. Great timing!

  6. Thanks it was nice to see them.

  7. Congratulations!! as always you got great photos, excellent work!! AC