Friday, April 20, 2018

Olde Florida Golf Club "Gives a Hoot"

50-75 species of birds make Olde Florida Golf Club either their seasonal or year-round home. With the combination of 95 acres of turfgrass, 30 acres of lakes, and 90 acres of upland and wetland forest, the terrain on our property provides terrific habitat for both migratory and non-migratory species. 

Although significant natural habitat and nesting structure is available, two species we try to attract and assist in nesting are Purple Martins and Screech Owls. Recently I wrote a blog entry "Olde Florida Golf Club is for the birds" , which detailed our efforts to attract Purple Martins to Olde Florida, and this entry, Olde Florida Golf Club "Gives a Hoot", will provide insight on our successful Screech Owl nesting program. 

The Screech Owl is widespread and fairly common, but thought to have been gradually declining. However, the decrease has been helped in some areas by the installation of nest boxes. Screech Owl’s are a robin-sized night bird. They are common in city parks and suburbs, where many human residents are often unaware they have an owl for a neighbor. The owl spends the day roosting in holes, nesting boxes or in dense cover and become active at dusk. Despite the name, Screech Owl’s do not screech. The voice of this species features whinnies and soft trills. 

The Screech Owl hunts at night by watching from a perch and swooping down to take its prey. It can also catch flying insects, which it locates by sound as well as sight. The female Screech Owl generally lays between 4-5 eggs annually and the incubation period is about 26 days. Fledglings leave the nest about 4 weeks after hatching. 

Screech Owl Fledglings on #17, April 20, 2018

Screech Owl Fledglings on #17, April 20, 2018
Since 2014, each year all four of the installed Screech Owl boxes have been utilized to fledge young, and this year is no exception. As of this morning, three of the four boxes have two fledglings each, and in the fourth, the female Screech Owl was on top of her eggs. 

Screech Owl with Fledglings at the Clubhouse, April, 20 2018 

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