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"I'm awake! I am!": A sleepy screech owl

February 14, 2021

This is a very small video showing a very small owl nearly taking a nap. Not the kind of thing that will win a Golden Globe. But we were pleased by it and decided to share it.

Here’s the story:
A new little screech owl visited us in early February 2021. We were wildly excited to see her. We hoped that she was a “she” (hence my choice of pronoun) and that she would stay and lay eggs. We were even coming up with names for the chicks. However, to our disappointment, she only stayed with us for one day.

Normally, screech owls spend most of their daytime hours asleep – as you would expect. But we noticed that this little owl wasn’t sleeping. She was awake and vigilant and, unlike Nicky, our resident screech owl who was asleep in his box about 40 feet away, she deliberately stood in the sunlight that leaked into the box through cracks and through the doorway. Nicky always naps in the darkest corner of his box.

Eventually tiredness overcame her, her eyes began to close and she swayed a little on her feet. Then, just like a human in a post-lunch office meeting, she jerked back to wakefulness. It was funny to watch.

The next morning she was gone. We think Nicky might have disapproved of her moving into a box in his territory, and perhaps he had a firm word with her. He was clearly aware of her presence – when he came up to the doorway of his box that evening he immediately swiveled around so he could see her as she sat at the entrance of her box, and then he stared at her for 20 minutes or so before flying off to go find dinner. We have no clue how Nicky knew she was there. Perhaps some kind of owl ESP was going on?

Every morning we anxiously check the cameras and hope to see her again, but she seems to have gone for good.