Ever witness an owlet fledgling process? I hope this shot will give you an idea of the process. The owlet usually would back its way out of the nest box and slowly climb to the highest point possible. It would stay there for a minute or two searching for its siblings and then take off towards them.
Interested in getting images like this one soon? I can put you in touch with my friend Mark Runnals for this type of opportunity.
The same pair of RBWP have returned to the same nest box again this year. Last year, none of the babies survived and appeared to have been killed by squirrels. This pair has been working very hard. The first clutch from this year failed earlier this summer. Since then, with the help of my friend Mark, we have trimmed away a lot of the palm frond to keep the squirrels away. This is the second clutch and I could hear the constant screaming of the babies begging for food everyday. I am happy that they finally produced some young ones that will be leaving within the next few days.
1Dx | 200-400mm L | 1/320 | f/8 | ISO800 | Fill Flash | Manual
I was fortunate enough to be able to photograph this Barred Owl nest along many great photographers early this year. Owl is my favorite raptor among the all the Avian species. After spending over a month monitoring and photographing their progress, this image was by far one of my favorites from this nest. It was one of the best days for photographing at this location: not only we did not have the typical cloudy day with dull lighting, we also had one of the best moments one could have asked for. The sun lit up the background perfectly and the baby barred owl popped up and peeking through the mother, checking out the action going on among the photographers to my left.
Screech Owlet landing in Fern Lake. I was only able to capture one late afternoon of branching baby owls at this nest before they moved higher into the grand oaks. I feel especially privileged to witness the fledging of several screech owl nests this year. Side lit by the light bouncing off a small stream of water, beamer was use to balance the shadow.
1Dx | 200-400L | 1/1600 | f/4.5 | ISO8000 | Fill Flash w/ Beamer | Bradenton, Florida
During the early part of the nesting season, there was a period of about 15 minutes where the golden afternoon light would shine upon the nest. I had been hoping to capture the baby owlet during that time. Unfortunately, by the time the baby was old enough, the angle of light had changed and would only light up part of the nest. This image was captured during the first Saturday the baby made an appearance. It was looking up at the female barred owl that was preening high on a perch. I love how the light illuminates the baby barred owl, giving it a mysterious sense to the image. I opted not to add fill flash in this shot.
The feeding activity has increased within that week. This image was captured after the female barred owl has left the nest for a short period of time. She came back with a prey and stood on the edge of the nest. After starring at the owlets for about a minute, she slowly stepped into the cavity.
1Dx | 840mm | 1/160 | f/8 | ISO3200 | Fill Flash | Manual | Full Frame
This was my first gray morph Eastern Screech Owl pair that I photographed early this year. It was also the first nest that I got to witness the entire fledging process. Adult flew in and posed next to the nest on this branch and was staring at the photographers. One by one, the baby left the nest and flew into the palm tree to join the parents. It was an amazing experience to have witnessed the entire process.
Here is an adult looking back at the photographers.
Adult landed on the side of the nest trying to encourage the owlets to take the first step.
This was one of the Eastern Screech Owl nests that I photographed this season. Unfortunately, I only was able to visit this site twice this year. On the second day, shortly after I started photographing this owlet, it climbed up to the top of the heart shape cavity. It was standing there for a little bit and was paying attention to my right. Shortly after, it took off and flew away to the nearby oak tree. Next year, I will make sure to spend more time at the nest.
Many photographers have asked me how I have had so much luck in finding and photographing Screech Owls for the last few seasons. Besides locating the actual nest, here is part of the secret. With the help of my friend, Mark, we have spent some time placing the natural nest boxes made from Florida native sabal palms around the area at the end of last year. We have had a lot of success having screech owls nesting the nest box. If you are a photographer and a bird lover, instead of buying the plywood box, why not considered having one of these in your backyard, it will also allow you to get some great photos. Below is what Mark says:
“I offer the perfect nest box for use in the photography of Screech Owls, American Kestrels and other small cavity breeders. These nest boxes are made from Florida native sabal palms. They are aged and carved out by hand. This tough palm log nest box will last for years with proper care and will give you photographs of the birds in there preferred cavities and not in a plywood box. The end results show in Troy Lim’s recent photographs of Screech Owls. Proven boxes tested over time with many successful nests. I am offering these hand carved logs at $75.00 each as there are hours of work in producing just one. They are easy to attach to trees or poles with copper wire. Let me know if you are interested.”
If you are interested is buying one of these, you can contact Mark directly at 941.465.9046 or email him at email@example.com