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Monday, June 5, 2017

Screaming babies

Nellie has been very stealth this season. In early December we would hear her trilling hoot, but she rarely got a response. Then later in the season, some fine fellow decided that three was his lucky number and the frantic antics began.  In March and April after two owlets hatched, the hoots were back and forth  essentially saying, "I got them food the last time. It's your turn to eviscerate something. " "I've got a pellet stuck in my craw. Until I heave it up, I'm too heavy to fly."  

I have been gone a lot this spring and I never found where the nest was this year. A few days ago, I heard two babies crying for food at Edgehill Park.  I have since seen both Nellie and her new hubby. Last night the two babies were frolicking in the middle of Moravian Lane.  They were practicing how to fly and it was quite evident that they needed more practice.  One would flap-hop to a near by branch and the other would follow. This went on for about 20 minutes. Then a crescendo of screams as they realize mom has come with a tasty treat.  She gives it to one owlet who flies off with no intention of sharing.  The other baby follows but is too late-the food is already down the hatch. He gives his sibling the middle talon and screams to mom to bring a vole for him.

Take a walk at dusk and listen for the baby cries or for the alarm cries of other songbirds. Edgehill is the most likely place but I have also seen them at the Duke Mansion, on Moravian, and in our back yard.

Here's an example of the babies just hanging out, crying for attention, imitating Stevie Wonder, and almost falling off the pole. Just takes one time to learn that a slick pole is no match for the texture of bark.


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