Just received this great note from Joe Coleman about Screechies in his neighborhood. We wanted to share:
Towards the end of April, Karen & I found Screech Owls using a cavity in a tree on my neighbor’s property – we couldn’t believe how narrow the hole to the cavity was but observed one fly in & out of it a couple of times and also call from it a couple of times. And guess what kind of tree the cavity is in? A Black Locust.
A few days ago we noticed a downy owlet cautiously sticking his head up in the very narrow cavity; two days ago we found two there – one at the entrance peering down at us (not so cautiously this time), the other, in the background, bobbing up & down to get a look at us over its sibling’s head.
Because I firmly believe that young birds are threatened by intrusive human behavior we’re being very cautious in our observation of this nest. Screech Owls very conscientiously do not regurgitate their pellets at their nesting cavities so as to not attract predators (such as raccoons and larger owls).
And I can’t ever remember ever finding a Screech Owl using a cavity in any other tree than a black locust – I’m sure they do, but I’ve never seen one and have been fortunate enough to see Screech Owls in trees several times. If I was to vote for a favorite wildlife habitat tree – it would be black locust! The number of cavity-nesting birds that utilize it is very impressive.
Good atlasing! Joe