Dec 18 2011

Screech-owl on Camera

Published by at 9:30 am under Birds of Prey

Good morning, “Hunter!”

That’s the nickname Bill Powers gave to this eastern screech-owl roosting in an owl box in his Murrysville backyard.

Bill is founder and CEO of PixController, a company that specializes in wildlife streaming webcams.  PixController set up the National Aviary penguin cam, the Gulf Tower and Pitt peregrine streaming cams, and the famous Lily The Bear cam which will be live again soon.

To demonstrate PixController’s expertise — and for fun — Bill has four streaming cameras set up at home.  Three are at ground-based feeding stations.  The fourth is in this owl box.

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In October Bill noticed an eastern screech-owl roosting in his only owl box so he set up four more boxes in hopes of attracting a nesting pair in the spring.  At first the owl preferred box #1 but he didn’t roost there every day, though he sometimes left food for later consumption.  One day while the owl was away a squirrel built a nest over the owl’s cache and the owl never used that box again.

Now what?  Bill waited and watched until he knew which of the other boxes the owl like best.  Here’s how he figured it out:

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After Hunter chose a new box, Bill installed the streaming webcam with an infrared light so we can see the owl even when the box is dark inside.  That’s why Hunter looks white in the webcam snapshots.

In today’s photo (at top), Hunter is facing the hole with his head bowed a little while he sleeps.  We see the top of his head and his back.  Reddish sunlight is brightening the box hole and two cracks at the front corners of the box.  Today Hunter brought a dark-colored mouse-y snack with him which he cached on the right.

Here are more pictures of Hunter sleeping, looking up and flying out.

 

You can watch Hunter live today (December 18) by clicking here or on the first photo above.  If you miss him today and he’s not there when you look for him, check back the next day.  Hunter doesn’t use this box every time.  He has other places to roost, but he’ll be back.

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(photos by Bill Powers and PixController Wildlife Camera #4)

p.s. Click here to see all four PixController cameras on one page.

4 responses so far

4 Responses to “Screech-owl on Camera”

  1. Anne Marieon 18 Dec 2011 at 10:02 am

    10am Hunter is there!
    thanks for sharing this with us.

  2. John Englishon 18 Dec 2011 at 12:23 pm

    And there at 12:22. Hope he finds a mate and we have little screechlets this Spring :-)

  3. Charles Repman IIIon 19 Dec 2011 at 12:20 pm

    I put up 4 wood duck boxes and two days after I put them up my wife and I were in our Rhino and to our suprise two boxes were occupied with Screech Owls with their heads out the hole. What a great experience. I could not tell what sex they are but maybe a male and female. I have the boxes hanging over Big Buffulo Creek about 150 yards apart.

  4. Jon 19 Dec 2011 at 6:03 pm

    That’s neat. I clicked the link for all 4 cams just in time to see a solitary deer grazing on camera 2.

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