Monday, February 28, 2011

Pale Male and Pale Beauty Plus Oscar and Olivia Screech Owl

This is Oscar sunning himself according to Jane of Georgia, who's owl house Oscar and Olivia Screech seem have taken to for the season.

(Okay I cannot help myself. I totally have a thing for Screech Owls particularly the red ones. I mean, could Oscar actually get any cuter?)

We'll hear more about the Screech Owl O's as soon as you get The Pales update for the day, just below.

Photo courtesy of

The two Pales sit atop a light fixture on the Carlyle Building and look at each other. If you look closely Pale Beauty is looking at Pale Male as if he were good enough to eat. Metaphorically of course, I hope.

Reports have come in that the Red-tailed Hawk pair are copulating up and down Fifth Avenue these days so things are going exactly as they should at this time of year.

And great news from Jane of Georgia, she of the Screech Owl house--

Hi Donegal –

I took about 30 minutes tonight to watch for activity around my owl box. Sure as shootin’ and just like clockwork, the rufous owl, Oscar, flew out to round up dinner right around 6:30pm and a little gray face, henceforth to be known as Olivia, appeared at the entrance to get some fresh air. I love it!

Oscar had been sunning himself since about 4pm this afternoon, taking time to intently observe all the squirrel activity around him (I’m swimming in squirrels here!). Just before he left the box, a male cardinal was making what sounded like alarm calls for about 5 minutes – from a branch only about 20 feet from the owl box. I have also watched as a bunch of titmice and chickadees have flown to the owl box doorway several times during the day – making loud calls all the while. The rackets lasts just a few minutes and then it all quiets down. Is this songbird activity the “mobbing” I’m reading about?

What fun! I’m so excited! Can you tell I’m a newbie at all this?


Hooray you have a pair!!!! And whether you are a newbie or not, we're green with envy and intend to enjoy them vicariously as much as you do.

I'm assuming that what you are describing is mobbing. A group of birds that raises a racket and may even dive at a raptor at times if it is exposed.

Interesting that the racket stops within a few minutes. Perhaps late in the day it is of limited duration because of the short overlap when an owl and diurnal birds are awake at the same time is limited perhaps?

But what about earlier in the day with the Chickadees and Titmouse? Let's see if we can come up with a hypothesis to try and nail down why. When the Titmouses were mobbing in the daytime was the owl visible and they stopped when he disappeared back into the house?

In the meantime, I've sent an email to John Blakeman for his take on the matter.

I've missed being able to follow the Screech Owls that nested in Central Park. And now that we have a pair of possibly less human habituated Screech Owls and a different habitat it could be downright fascinating to see what the differences in behavior toward humans are and also what they eat. The first stage would be trying to see what Oscar brings home for Olivia to eat while she sits the nest. Likely not all that easy as these guys are fast but you never know what you may see if you watch.

By the way, what kind of habitat is near by for the owls to forage in?

Donegal Browne

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