Saturday, April 17, 2010

Is the patio enough? Question from a reader.

Although the patio on the owl box in San Marcos is a good start, the owlets will need another strong perch to leap TO from that perch. This is how they learn to fly. They don't learn to fly by being pushed out of the nest and onto the ground like many songbirds do. When owls fledge, they need to be able to leap from tree branch to tree branch to the perch by their nest, back and forth. Owls do not belong on the ground at all.

I can't tell from the pictures I've seen whether or not there are solid branches nearby for the owlets to leap back and forth to, to learn to fly. If there aren't, perches can be installed nearby that take the place of strong branches. I'm sure that will be done before the owlets start to leave the box. They leave the box well before they can actually fly and begin exercising their wings by holding onto a branch and flapping with all their might, looking like they're trying to carry the branch away with them. This builds the strength in their wings that they'll need in order to fly. Then they start the hopping back and forth, learning through trial and error how to control those big wings to glide, stop, hover, and land without crashing. They learn in baby steps, so to speak.

Note that there are 3 posts today, so the 2 under this one are also new!

-Stacey

12 comments:

Eva =uD said...

Olá!!!
Esto es tan sorprendente!
Me fascina que pueden vivir en la misma ciudad y tener resultados tan distintos en la caza.
No se.
Solo ahora me enteré de Owlivia y Owliver. Pero es evidente que tieném mas experiencia que Molly y McGee.
Bebés buhos son TAN hermosos! =]
Voy a ver los videos ahora.
Besitos!

Janet said...
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Janet said...
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Cindi said...

I remember that Carlos said the owl box WAS built close to a tree. maybe we can't see if from the picture?

Teresa said...

Once again, I've loved reading the entries from yesterday and today. The information is great and I love the way you present it. It is obvious you are excited and love the subject you are explaining, and it makes the person reading the information excited about it, too. Several of the people I work with think that me and another co-worker have totally lost it since we have many conversations during the day about Molly and McGee. At least they now know they are owls and not people!
One interesting thing has happened lately and the timing is really cool. We have a barred owl that has taken up residence in the middle of the city in an oak tree in front of the court house. I was able to go yesterday and take some pictures of it. I was in awe at the beauty of this owl. I did think it was funny that it shows up when I have owls on my brain right now!
Keep writing. Lots of people are reading-I promise!

Stacey O'Brien said...

Hi Cindi!

I've seen some of the branches from that tree and they look very skinny - not like perching branches. That's why I'm concerned. There need to be some solid perches near the box but far enough away so that the babies can hop/fly from their perch to another perch and slowly turn those hops into short flights.
I'm sure Carlos will install something well before the owlets fledge. The ladder is a good start, although it might be too low and slippery for the babies. Carlos will figure out how to build something for them to train on, I'm confident.

suzie2 said...

I tried sending you the Molly & McGee ringtones via e-mail, but am not sure I got that right.
So, as odd as it may be :-)-I am putting them here for you... http://www.myademconet.com/molly/index.htm

Enjoy!!
I am not good at posting here, lol-so I hope this doesn't appear twice.

suzie2 said...

I tried sending you the Molly & McGee ringtones via e-mail, but am not sure I got that right.
So, as odd as it may be :-)-I am putting them here for you... http://www.myademconet.com/molly/index.htm

Enjoy!!
I am not good at posting here, lol-so I hope this doesn't appear twice.

Kathlene said...

Morning precious lady, know you knowledge and experience is greatly appreciated. It helps in watching other owls.
I realize Molly may be new at this so My question is.. why do you think she choose to nest there if there is no where for the owlettes to practice their hoping from branch to branch. And wouldn't installing perches be interfering with nature?
thanks again for taking your precious time to answer questions.

Charlotte said...

Stacey, I'm wondering if you've got pictures or visual images of any sort or even a description that would help show us the kind of perch system that owlets need once they begin to explore the bounds beyond the box..

I've placed two barn owl nest boxes (one of them at 15' the other at 12')and this post was where I first learned how important this is. (THANKS!!) Also, is it possible to make the system SO easy to use that it gives opportunist predators unwanted access to the nest box? I want to be sure I don't over do this! I envision some sort of dowel system that allows for the owlets to hop from dowel to dowel. However, I have no idea how far an owlet can hop or fly/glide once he reaches that stage.. Thanks, as always, Stacey!

joanna said...

I think everyone needs to keep in mind the weight of the owlets is at 49 days at 391 grams which is 0.86641669 U.S. pounds.

Day 56 at 387 grams : 0.85318895 U.S. pounds

Day 63 at 346 grams : 0.76279943 U.S. pounds

That is not even a pound and just over 3/4 of a pound.

That tree and it's limbs are very substantial for that weight.

peavyjohnson said...

Hi Stacey-
I adored your book! I especially appreciated your insight on the emotional lives of animals.
Question:
Are cats a threat to fledgling owls? I love cats but I keep them strictly indoors because I love birds, too. What's your opinion on this? Maybe people will listen to you...

Nancy