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Barred Owl Chicks Fledging

5-25-17 barred owl fledging2Unlike most young birds, Barred Owls fledge before they can fly. On average, they leave their nest when they are around eight weeks old, and don’t master flight until they’re about 12 weeks old. Fledging for a Barred Owl consists of climbing up out of the tree cavity where they spent their first two months, onto a nearby limb where its parents will tend to it. More often than not there is a nearby branch which it can hop to.

In the fledging depicted, the closest limb was a good 10-15 feet above the nesting cavity. With the help of its strong talons, beak and wings, the fledgling managed to scale the tree trunk up to a somewhat horizontal stub where it could get a good purchase. It may not have been the most graceful ascension, but the fact that it could manage to climb straight up for this distance without the assistance of any grasping fingers was impressive, to say the least.  Fledged Barred Owls continue to be fed by their parents until they can fly and capture their own prey.  (Photo: Barred Owl chick fledging – clockwise, starting from upper left)

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12 responses

  1. Outstanding sequence of photos !

    May 26, 2017 at 7:56 am

  2. Mary Quinn

    Amazing photos! Thanak you.

    May 26, 2017 at 8:01 am

  3. Alice Pratt

    Amazing to observe AND take photos. Just wondering how they get back to their tree cavity home?

    May 26, 2017 at 8:06 am

    • They don’t, Alice. The parents come to them to feed them. Once they’ve fledged, they’re out of the nest for good!

      May 26, 2017 at 8:26 am

  4. Bill On The Hill...

    That is one tough boyd!

    A note off subject here, the ticks are horrendous this season…

    Bill Farr

    May 26, 2017 at 10:04 am

  5. Alice Pratt

    I thought it would be awkward for them to go back down. I thought when birds fledged, they went back to their nest and had flying lessons from the nest. So it’s going to stay on the branch for a few weeks? They must be prey for hawks? Other owls? And not much shelter when it rains 😕 Interesting to learn more! Thank you!

    May 26, 2017 at 10:08 am

  6. Susan Holland

    Amazing! How wonderful that you were there to see this and photograph it for the rest of us!

    May 26, 2017 at 12:45 pm

  7. Yes, ticks are awful. I recommend a flock of chickens in your yard. They really seem to help by eating the little nuisances. Not as noisy as guinea hens, but if you have a place away from neighbors, they are supposed to be even better. We really need to push for a Lyme Disease vaccine. Dogs have it and people could too, if it weren’t for anti-vaccine groups. Read about it on Google.Mary, sorry for taking up your space here, but this is a topic on everyone’s minds. Loved your little Barred Owl chick pictures!

    May 26, 2017 at 4:19 pm

  8. jini foster

    please what IS the bright blue scat????

    May 27, 2017 at 7:19 am

    • I have no idea! The shape, size and color mystify me. (I noted in posting that I had no idea and was hopeful that a reader could confirm the nature of it, but that I couldn’t!) Blue stain fungus sounds plausible, but have not found anyone who categorically knows this for a fact.

      May 28, 2017 at 9:31 am

  9. Susan Brown

    Aren’t they amazing?! Mary is a naturalist living in the Rutland area and, unless otherwise noted, uses her own photos in the blog, which, no matter what the subject, I always find fascinating. Wouldn’t it be thrilling to have a peek at ‘our’ babies fledging?……though I wouldn’t want to attract attention to them….this family is so precious!


    Sent from my iPad


    May 27, 2017 at 7:58 am

  10. Mary Sloat

    I found the information about the owls fascinating.

    May 27, 2017 at 7:55 pm

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