I think of the book “Owls in the Family” often these days, which is pretty amazing considering my only exposure to it is a teacher reading it to the class when I was in elementary school. The reason is the family of barn owls residing in the owl box in our back yard. The box is visible in this photo.
There are two adult owls living in the box, and what sounds like at least a couple owlets. We have been hearing the owlets begging for a some weeks now, and can even occasionally see one in the box through binoculars. We haven’t been able to tell how many hatched, but it sure sounds like more than one. It’s quite a racket. (For a sample, look for the “chicks begging” link on the Barn Owl page from OwlPages.com.)
At some point during this last night the owlets were pushed out of box. It’s hard to say why, because they are definitely not old enough to venture out on their own yet. I was quite heartbroken when I found one on the ground this morning, dying before my eyes. I couldn’t see any activity in the box. Hoping any siblings were still up there resting comfortably, I figured I would find out when night fell.
As dusk approached, I continued to look for activity in the box. When I started to hear the begging of an owlet, it didn’t sound like it was coming from the box. Sure enough, the little owl tyke was on the ground close to the box.
It was almost dark, but I was still able to capture a few images.
While happy there was at least one survivor, I fear for the near helpless little guy (he just seemed like a “little guy” to me). I have seen the parents around, and they will still take care of him, but this is coyote area. If he makes it through the night, I’ll contact the local wildlife refuge and find out if they’ll take him in and raise him. I doubt he’ll survive out there for very long.
I could hear him begging when I started this post. It’s eerily quiet out there now. Even though the owlets begging can get quite loud and continues without stop just about all night long, I’m going to miss it.