Pat Hatch's PhotoJournal

We Have a Brancher

In the off season, we had a bit of a catastrophe in that the branch that contains the hollow that the owls use as a nest broke off right at one end of the nest.  We had all summer to think about it and do something about it.  What we came up with after talking to the owl experts and some construction buddies was to wrap the end of the branch with stucco wire and then cover the wire with stucco.  We hired a tree service guy to do the work and it came out really well.  However, we wondered if the owls would come back to their "modified" home.  For one, it now had a man-made structure next to it, and secondly, it was missing a branch for the little ones to perch on when they became branchers.  We were pleasantly surprised when in November we started to see the owl pair in the neighborhood.  One day when I was out riding my bike I actually saw mom sitting in the nest--and this was way before nesting time--kind of like she was trying it out for size.  Good sign.

Sure enough she was sitting on her eggs by mid-December as usual.  The eggs hatched in early January and although I was hoping to see at least two heads poking out of the nest, it finally became obvious that only one had hatched.  So today was the first day that I saw the little one out of its nest.  It wasn't standing out on a branch as you would expect when they venture out, because there isn't one anymore, at least not convenient to the nest, but it did manage to perch on top of the concrete structure that now forms what looks like a roof over the nest.  By this evening when mom brings food, it will be back in the nest.

So here is a photo at about 1 month old and just starting to branch:

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