2/26/2009

The owl baiting debate - heats up!

The owl baiting debate is heating up and I would love to hear your thoughts on the topic. Please make sure to pop in and vote on the poll.

"Owl baiting is the practice of releasing tame rodents such as white mice for wild owls to catch. The practice is generally used by professional photographers to raise their odds of capturing the kill shot up close and personal, especially for rare northern owls such as Snowy, Great Gray and Northern Hawk Owl. Although owl baiting is most common amongst the professional photographer community, members of the public have also got in on the act".
For more on the topic including weblinks to discussions on the topic - click here.
To see what other have said about owl baiting and to share your thoughts - click here.

2/24/2009

It's not easy being an overachiever!

Hopefully everyone participated in the Great Backyard Bird Count and received a certificate to proof it. Aptly this year's certificate has a Great Horned Owl on it so I decided to proudly display mine on the site. Here are the results to date for the Great Backyard Bird Count - 2009. I spent the first day counting at my home feeders and I was lucky enough to see Red winged black birds that have been back several times since. I also had a throng of Pine Siskins (along with the rest of NJ). On Sunday I had a quick fly over from a small flock of White winged Crossbills and I also saw a solitary Yellow rumped warbler. I'm in the process of scouting out locations close to home and I spent some time looking for owls, but struck out. On the positive side I did find some pellets which is encouraging.
How was your count - anything exciting?


2/23/2009

Screech owl box nesting guide

Spring fever is definitely picking up and people are already planning for the owl nesting season. You may ask how I know that and the answer is simply: Web traffic. Yip, I’ve noticed that my site is getting a lot more traffic related to owl boxes. Many people are ready to get out their tools to put together the ultimate Screech owl box. Although you’re ready to go, you may still have some questions like should I build a box or buy one; what should the box dimensions be; how high should I put it…..and you probably have a lot more questions. In order to assist you with the process of attracting a Screech owl, I’ll share all the information I’ve gathered over the years. Although I haven’t had a successful season yet, I have had some close calls along the way. Here's a detailed look at what I've learnt along the way:

Owl box construction
Topics covered include: Timing and Design, Location, Box mounting and Protection
http://owlbox.blogspot.com/2008/10/building-screech-owl-box.html

Owl protection
Topics covered include: Installing flashing on and around your owl box, roof design and squirrel deterrence.
http://owlbox.blogspot.com/2007/11/photo-of-owl-box-flashing.html
http://owlbox.blogspot.com/2008/10/owl-box-v30.html

When do owls move in?
Topics covered include: Owl behavior related to nesting and owl box selection.
http://owlbox.blogspot.com/2008/01/when-do-screech-owls-move-in.html
http://owlbox.blogspot.com/2007/12/owl-box-update.html

Selecting an owlcam
Topics covered include: The value of an owlcam, plugin play vs. custom cameras, when to install your camera.
http://owlbox.blogspot.com/2008/12/which-owlcam-should-i-get.html

The waiting game
Topics covered include: Staying positive during the waiting period.
http://owlbox.blogspot.com/2008/01/hurry-up-and-wait-mr-impatient.html
http://owlbox.blogspot.com/2008/03/owl-box-when-no-news-is-bad-news.html

Marketing your owl box 101
Topics covered include: Basic marketing tips to attract Screech owls – Note these tactics are pre-recession and may need to be modified!
http://owlbox.blogspot.com/2008/02/owl-box-open-house.html

Knowing the enemy-squirrels
Topics covered include: A comprehensive guide to your enemy: squirrels, basic squirrel deterrence strategies, eviction principles and implementation, surveillance and the bad guys
http://owlbox.blogspot.com/2008/01/stick-treatment.html
http://owlbox.blogspot.com/2008/07/bitter-sweet-squirrel.html
http://owlbox.blogspot.com/2009/02/squirrel-alert.html

2/22/2009

Cooper's hawk window strike - HELP

Sadly I had a fatal Cooper's hawk window strike this morning. The hawk head the window square on and broke its neck. This is the first time we've had a bird strike this window and I can only assume that the combination of overcast weather and actively pursuing prey led to its tragic demise. Can any advise me whether there is somewhere local that will take it for research?