The Screech Owlets Get Ready to Fledge

Sunday, May 9, 2021

            The owlets are getting ready to fledge.  They jump around the box, stretching their fuzzy gray bodies up to the box ceiling, spreading their wings, flapping them.  They dig in the sawdust, scratching away, searching for tidbits.  It has been warm and humid the past few days.  The owlets stare at the long beam of sun shining through the entrance, panting.  Their mother does the same on hot days.  As evening falls, they know dinner is on the way; they back up to the far wall of the nest, huddled together, staring at the entrance. 

            At the end of last week one owlet hopped into the entrance, waiting for food.  The next day, two more owlets peeked out during the day, staring out at the world they are about to enter.  This is a sure sign they are ready to leave the nest. The parents are hidden somewhere in the nearby trees.  The male, who never seemed bothered by our presence, has abandoned his perch in the oak tree.  The adults are not visible, but they must be nearby.  Though we searched the oaks, the yaupon hollies and magnolia trees, we cannot see them.  We try not to disturb them, but part of me thinks we have.  Because the owlets will fledge any day now, we make sure Daisy is not running about the yard late at night.  Dangerous for her; dangerous for owlets ready to fledge.  Today is 29 days since the first egg hatched.  In our past experience, owlets perch outside the box for a day or two before they take off.  Maybe we have a day or two longer. 

Christine Baleshta