Stocking up for Winter Storms
by Steve Eisenhauer, Preserve Manager
Every winter storm I check the two Screech Owl nest boxes at Harold N. Peek Preserve. Screech Owls aren’t generally disturbed when their nest boxes are checked during the day. They rarely move, even while lots of photos are being taken a half foot away.
Sometimes the owls cache food in the nest boxes they use for daytime and foul-weather roosting. Perhaps they can sense the approach of a snowstorm. Once I found three dead mice next to a roosting Screech Owl and, when I checked again a couple days later, three regurgitated owl pellets had replaced the rodent carcasses.
On Sunday, January 8th, one of the boxes had a rusty phase Screech Owl using a flying squirrel carcass as a mattress! Or perhaps it just ate the front half of the squirrel for breakfast and was saving the back half for dinner.