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October 2023

September 2023

The 1st 'Screech Owl' Book Review

Just came across a review of  The Screech Owl Companion in Booklist, a book review site for public libraries.

The Screech Owl Companion Screenshot 2023-09-29 at 1.38.18 PM
Everything You Need to Know
About These Beneficial Raptors.

By Jim Wright and Scott WestonOct. 2023. 212p. illus. Timber, paper, $24.99

   Screech owls are enchanting neighbors, as journalist and birding columnist Wright discovered when he and his wife installed an owl nest box 50 feet from their living room. These "most amazing creatures you'll seldom see" are the stars of this combination of natural history and how-to book. 

   Beginning with the basics of screech owl biology, general owl anatomy and behavior, owl superstitions, owl protection, and owl species, Wright and owl expert Weston move on to the heart of the book -- hosting screech owls in nest boxes. 

    As they point out, screech owls are very adaptive to urban and suburban areas with trees and green spaces. They detail discovering suitable sites for boxes, dealing with pesky squirrels (who love owl boxes), the basics of box building, and installation. The use of nest cams to monitor owl tenants and attendant software and apps is the pièce-de-résistance.

   Full of beautiful photos and illustrations,  ... with sidebars featuring owl-oriented quotations and other books about owls, this gem of a manual will satisfy all levels of owl lovers.

     --Nancy Bent

   YA/S: Perfect for natural-history-loving teens and a natural for scout projects.

This Sunday: Sneak Peek of My New Book

I am pleased to announce that I will be giving a sneak preview of  The Screech Owl Companion at the Meadowlands Birding Festival on Sunday (Oct. 1) at 2 p.m.

I'll also have a special guest, Tilly the Eastern Screech Owl (see photo above, by Sam Pettigrew). She'll stop by with her colleague, Rosetta Arrigo of the Flat Rock Brook Nature Center.

The free all-day festival also includes live raptor shows, children’s activities, live music and guided walks at some of the best birding spots in the region.

Advance copies of The Screech Owl Companion and my other books will be available for sale and signing before and after.

MBF schedule

Monday Hawk Watch Mystery Answered

JW TNC  LightHawk  1 060816IMG_9246 (1)On Monday I wrote:

This is an easy one for many -- a raptor's eye view of a popular hawk watch.

I took the photo seven years ago while doing a flight for The Nature Conservancy and LightHawk. (Thanks, TNC and LightHawk!)

Note the rock slide in the photo. This is why I cringe whenever I see clueless folks climb over the wall and sit on the edge of the cliff.

The answer: State Line Hawk Watch, of course! Kudos to everyone who answered correctly.

My Column: Meadowlands Birding Festival

Ron Shields Great Egret 207A9509 (1)
Photo by Ron Shields

My latest column for The Record is about the Meadowlands Birding Festival. Alas, I couldn't fit all the info into a 500-word column. Here goes:
Flat Rock Brook Nature Center is bringing a female Eastern Screech Owl, a male American Kestrel, and a female Red-tailed Hawk.
Giselle Smisko of the Avian Wildlife Center will likely bring a Red-tailed hawk, maybe the American goshawk, and a Saw-whet Owl...
NJSEA has several short presentations. Terry Doss, Co-Director of the NJSEA's Meadowlands Research & Restoration Institute will provide a very brief intro, and then Mike Turso (Wildlife Biologist), Aleshanee Mooney (Ecologist) and Drew McQuade (Senior Biologist) will provide very brief updates on a number of recent studies (saltmarsh sparrow survey, floating islands for least terms, osprey nesting, bird banding recent results). Cailin O’Connor Fitzpatrick (Lecturer at Kean University) will provide an update on the MOTUS tower study. 
You can read the column here:

Continue reading "My Column: Meadowlands Birding Festival" »

The 2024 CF Calendars Are Here!

2024coverThe 2024 Celery Farm calendars are now on sale at Lee Memorial Library (500 W. Crescent Ave.) for a $20 donation to the Fyke Nature Association.

We are including an extra day (Feb. 29, a Thursday) at no additional cost, and you are free to use the day as you wish.

Fyke is the volunteer group that maintains the Celery Farm for the borough of Allendale.

Photographers for this year's calendar are Brian Jenkins, Leslie Young, Stephanie Swanzey, Nancy Motto, Kevin Watson, Great Egret (just checking to see if you're still reading), Mike Gallo, Nick Sweatlock, Tom Mitchell, Alan Pomerantz, Lynn McKenzie, Mike Limatola, and me. Mike L. also did the calendar itself. (Thanks, Mike!)