May 1 UPDATE: Mom found the babies. All are living in the nest now. Video below.
It’s a nice spring Friday morning. Your Mom or Dad stops by at dawn gives you a fresh breakfast. Today it was a tasty mouse. They then head out for the day to hunt and all that… you nestle in with your siblings. Your folks got you a nice place in a tree. Not only any tree, honestly one of the oldest trees in town. A 250+-year-old Oak, sweet place. Napping away, then late morning, you hear some ruckus in the street. Mom and Dad are gone, but you are sure you will be fine. Couple more hours go by, and your bedroom is on the move, straight up, then over, then down, real slow, but still not right. Then a whole bunch of people in hard hats and stuff are way too excited to see you. One guy shoves a camera in your face, a woman comes all gloved up and puts you in a cat carrier. This is not the day you thought you would have.
So we had our tree taken down today, these five were in it, had no clue until it was lying in the middle of the street. They are all fine. They have been relocated to a new tree, in a newly purchased owl box big enough for all of them and Mom and Dad. The Medway Animal Control officer and I worked with Raptor Tales Rescue of Shrewsbury and they walked us thru re-nesting them. The best is being made of an unfortunate situation, thankful for the help of professionals, both with the tree and the owls. The tree had to come down for safety reasons – there was no way to see these guys hidden inside. It was hollow – hence the need for coming down today, more on that in tomorrow’s post. Tonight I have cameras set up at their new nest with the hope to see if the parents find them. Fingers crossed, but if not we have a solid plan B and have spoken to the right people to make sure the 5 – John, Paul, George, Ringo, and Yoko, are all safe and cared for.
I am by no means a bird photographer, there are some pros who I love to see what they get, but I enjoy photographing them. Owls have always been a bucket list shot, never taken one in the wild. This year alone I have left my house to search for some, I added an owl box to my back yard a few years ago, never have had luck. The irony is not lost that a family of Screech Owls has been living feet (not an exaggeration, feet, maybe 15-20) from my bed for a while. Let’s hope this all works out and the family can stay with me longer, I promise them I will always make them look good and never disturb them.