I got an exciting message from my friend Katie earlier this week. The barred owl we saw in a tree cavity was actually on a nest! We found this owl in March of last year, and suspected it might be a nest, but by the end of April the owl was gone. This year, it was in the same spot again, but we thought it was probably just a roosting hole. Wrong! Katie saw three chicks in the hole earlier this week, and after work today I got to head out and try my luck. (Perhaps last year the nest just wasn't successful?)
Things were certainly different. No longer was the mama owl barely peeking out over the edge of the hole. Something was making her much, much higher!
I was lucky enough to get a quick glimpse at one of the chicks shortly thereafter - what a gawky little fuzz ball at this stage? (You can see his face in the bottom left - click for a larger view.)
My field guide tells me that barred owl chicks fledge about 40-45 days after hatching, so I look forward to going back in a couple weeks and hopefully seeing some much bigger babies!
This could be what we have to look forward to (photo by W.H. Majoros):