Continuing Story of the Palm Tree Owl Family

By Dan Weisz

I’ve been spending some time watching this family in their “balcony suite” in a palm tree.  Now that the little ones are growing, the parents are spending much of their time in the palm tree across the street.  I’m not sure whether the photo below is of Mom or Dad, but I think it’s Dad.  He does pay attention to the world around him, even when he’d rather be sleeping.

Both parents often hang out together in the daytime.  I find it amazing that birds that size can be so well hidden.  I had to walk around the tree to find a spot where I could find them and see them well.

Mom occasionally joins the little one in the ’nest’.   Why do I say “joins the little one” when there have been two owlets seen previously in the nest?

Because one of the little ones has left the nest.  The neighbors reported seeing it walking down the street one day.  It apparently fluttered down from the nest a bit prematurely.  Wildlife Rescue program was called and they determined that the little one was too advanced to be placed back into the nest. It had grown enough feathers out to begin branching, or moving out on branches of the tree while stretching its wings and getting stronger. The problem was that palm trees don’t have great branches for this bird to wander around on. So it found itself on the ground and made do.  For a few days he was in my friend’s front yard across the street from mom and dad’s palm tree where it was safe and continued to be fed nightly by its parents.  It still has quite a bit of downy baby feathers but you can see its next set of feathers growing in.  And look at those huge toes!

Later it hopped behind the planter where it was more sheltered.  You now can see the darker wing feathers from this angle!

That evening, I saw Dad begin his hunt using the same saguaro perch that he had used several nights earlier.  I sent similar photos last week but this is a new photo from another day.  What a classic and beautiful sight to see!!

After Dad flew off on his hunt, the evening grew darker but I took one last look at Mom in the palm tree before heading home.

The next morning I returned and the owlet had moved to the other side of the front porch area.  It was squeezed in between the garden hose and a flower pot.

We gave it privacy by walking away and leaving it alone!

Much more to see… be continued!!

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