Thursday, April 22, 2010

Is the owl box next to tree branches to which the babies can hop or fly?



There's been a lot of questions about the placement of the owl box, because when the babies start to fledge, they will do so in a process. Owl babies do not fledge all at once as one event the way songbirds do. First, they don't fledge to the ground like songbirds. Instead, they begin to hop from the nest to a nearby branch, then back again, over and over again. They can't fly yet, but they begin to exercise their wings by flapping them very hard while holding tight to a tree branch, and they hop back and forth.

Eventually, this hopping starts to include a little bit of lift, as if flying or gliding, but then there's the safety of nearby tree branches upon which to land. By doing this, they practice using their wings and start to learn what happens when they flap their wings this way or that, or the other way. They learn to stop in midair and float down to to the branch like a hellicopter. They learn to strike the branch w/ their talons. They learn all kinds of landing techniques.

Also, they will exercise their leg and wing muscles by powering up tree trunks, hooking their talons into the bark and flapping hard, using their powerful thigh muscles to literally walk up the tree trunk.

For this reason, it's advised that if you put up an owlbox, you need to put it up next to or even in a tree so that the owlets can fledge properly.

If the owlbox is not set up that way, the babies will fall to the ground when they leave the box, breaking wings and legs. Oh, was I "wrong" to say that? Lest anyone be concerned? Well, I can't lie, can I?

But we have been told that the owl box IS next to a tree and that there ARE branches right next to the box for the owls to jump back and forth to, right parallel with the opening of the box. What a relief.

Well, heck, you be the judge. Above is a picture of the owl box, which I got off of one of Carlos' websites! Let the debate end here!

Sincerely,
Stacey

6 comments:

Eva =uD said...

Mas que coincidência! Ontem à noite eu estava me perguntando como os owllets fariam para aprender a voar, caso não estivessem em acomodações adequadas. No seu livro, você diz que Wesley começa a se exercitar pela casa, no poleiro, tentando pousos na mesa da sala... eu fiquei me perguntando como as corujinhas de Molly fariam para se virar sem tudo isso.
Pensei que uma árvore poderia ser uma boa idéia, e, bem quando eu começo a me preocupar [pensando coisas do tipo: e se não estiverem acomodados proximos a uma arvore? Haha] você escreve sobre isso e me deixa muito mais tranquila.
Que alivio!!! Haha = ]
Obrigada Stacey. Você, mais uma vez "salvou o dia". =D

Eva =uD said...

Ei, Stacey, se puder me mandar o endereço eletrônico aonde você traduz o blog, eu ficaria extremamente feliz! =0D
Abraços!

Janet said...
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ggoodin said...

Hello Stacey, Is there anything that can be done? I know you said that the owls are property of the state. Can they try to ensure that something is put into place for the owlet to have a more successful fledge? I know that Donna and Carlos care very much about Molly and her family. He admits that he's not an expert and is learning as he goes along. I respect that fact very much. I'd hope, I know we'd all hope, that he would take the advice from a person or people that know more about how baby barn owls fledge, and what they need in place to help them. I don't like the idea of "they should be just fine". Thank you for all your thoughts on Molly and barn owls in general. I enjoy learning, but have to admit, it is a bit stressful to think about those little owlets just hopping out of that box with no place to go. You said there is time, and I truly hope, and I feel, that Carlos will do something to help those little guys/girls that we've all grown to love. Thank you, G.

poster said...

The camera angle for this particular picture doesn't give me a good indication of the distance between the tree and the box. Will the highest branches support the owlet while it climbs back to the box? Unknown.

When looking at a photo like this: http://www.facebook.com/#!/photo.php?pid=823654&op=9&o=global&view=global&subj=100000803210356&id=1613060853

I say NO, the tree is not close enough to the box to be of any assistance to the owlets.

I hope I'm proven wrong.

Janet said...
This comment has been removed by the author.