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April 2007

April 27: Mrs. Ace update

   Life at 1 Nest Box Lane remains unchanged. Mrs. Ace continues to sit on four eggs.

   I did not see her leave the nest around dusk last night, but she must have left briefly at some point for a "bathroom break," but she was not gone long from all I can tell.

   She did hop up to the opening briefly to get some food from Mr. Ace, and I was able to glimpse the four eggs.

  I am told that little holes will appear in the eggs before any owlets emerge, but the chances of detecting a "chip" in any of the shells is slim. Mrs. Ace has the eggs covered  almost all of the time.

   I read that  owlets actually make sounds while still in the eggs, and I asked an owl researcher if I might be able to record the sounds.

   He said that short of taping tiny microphones to the eggs -- not a possibility -- the chances were likely slim and none.

Wood ducks: The untold story


       The wood ducks at the Celery Farm are in abundance -- and apparently still in house-hunting mode.

    Yesterday a couple of friends and I stood on the Warden's Watch and witnessed the results of a tight housing market.

    As you can see in the photo above, there are two pairs of wood ducks and just one box.

   Moments before, the male wood duck in the water had been driven from the top of the box.

   Moments later, the wood duck pair on top of the box evicted the female pictured here in the box's opening.

   Here's what likely was going on.

Continue reading "Wood ducks: The untold story" »

Update 4-26: Mrs. Ace




     According to my calculations, Mrs. Ace the screech owl should be 26 days into an incubation that takes from 26 to 31 days, so I'll be doing a daily morning update from here on in.

  The bottom line is: No news is good news.

   Mrs_ace_42607She is still sitting on four eggs.

  She still takes a break after dusk to "go to the bathroom" and cough up pellets.

   And Mr. Ace seems to be feeding her regularly, although -- from her frequent calling -- probably not as much as she would like.

Continue reading "Update 4-26: Mrs. Ace" »

Ridgewood appearance

  I'll be speaking about screech owls and this blog this Friday (April 27) in Ridgewood as part of the village's  Arbor Day festivities. 

   My talk is scheduled for between 12:30 and 1 p.m. at the Community Center at Village Hall, on Maple Ave.

   I'll use a digital projector with some images of the screech owl -- and the owl cam. 

   The festivities also feature free saplings and mulch, a nature walk, and talks by Hugh Carola of the Riverkeeper and Patrick Scheuer of NJ Audubon's Lorrimer Sanctuary.

    Here is a link to the flier for the event:

April 25 owl update

    Mrs. Ace is doing fine and sitting on her four eggs this morning. Incubation began on April 1, so things could start happening in the next several days.

    Mrs. Ace left after dusk for a minute last night, and then quickly returned in time to be fed by Mr. Ace, who stuck his head in the box and gave Mrs. Ace what appeared to be a large moth.

   Mrs. Ace headed out again shortly after, for maybe 20 minutes.

   Most of the time, not much happens in the box, but I feel compelled to activate the monitor every 10 minutes or so in the evening to see if anything is going on. 

   Similarly, when I get up in the morning, I'm compelled to activate the monitor first thing just to make sure everything is all right.