Thursday, March 17, 2011
While a lot of bird species, especially our neotropical migrants that arrive from parts south each April and May, nest in the spring and early summer, not all do. This Great Horned Owl, found at an undisclosed location, was already on her nest in the second week of March, and her eggs should hatch soon. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's All About Birds website, the clutch is normally one to five eggs.
The site goes on to say that the Great Horned Owl "typically takes over nests in trees made by other bird species. Often puts nest in hollows or broken-off snags in trees." That's doubly true here. This owl's nest is an a hollow, and it was the site of a Red-Shouldered Hawk's nest last year.
Good luck with the new family, dear.
Killdeers have quite different nests, typically a shallow depression scratched out of the ground. Some have even been found nesting on flat, gravel-covered roofs of low buildings. Here's a fact from Cornell we didn't know: "After egg-laying begins, Killdeer often add rocks, bits of shell, sticks, and trash to the nest. Curiously, these items tend to be light colored, and this tendency was confirmed in one experiment that gave Killdeer the choice between light and dark sticks."
Birdcouple prefers light colors, too.
Ospreys seem to nest on just about any high structure or tree: wooden nesting platforms provided by humans, cell phone towers, even light poles at athletic fields:
On the same day Birdcouple saw Mrs. Owl, Princess indulged Warren's burning desire to see his first Osprey of the year. We made a side trip to Anne Arundel Community College where, according to a resident nearby, the Osprey has just arrived.
So, the Owl family is already underway, the Osprey are just getting started in the baby-raising business, and the warblers, tanagers, orioles and flycatchers won't even be here for a couple more weeks. Always something going on in BirdWorld.