Jill and Garys story

Jill and Garys Story

We have been watching these Barn Owls in our back field for three and a half years now. First they were in a palm tree directly behind our house. They had two owlets fledge. Later, neighbors cut down the tree. Next, they moved to the palm tree to the south of our yard. That summer we got a really windy day and 5 babies fell out and died before we found them. Two survived and fledged. That is when we put up an owl box on a pole. I think they did not use it as they were already established in the tree. This last summer 2010, four babies fell and died. We knew there was one remaining baby in the nest because we could hear it in the tree, so every single night we went outside to watch the parents bring it food. One night, we saw Willow fly straight to the ground at dusk. We walked out into the field and there was the baby on the ground. At the time, we did not know that owls can climb back up into the tree. We also knew there was a neighborhood cat and coyotes that prowl the field, so Gary ran and got gloves and picked it up. We put him in our yard trying to figure out what to do! He was so ready to fly but was not able to gain the height needed. Meanwhile, Bear Grylls and Willow were watching from the neighbor’s roof next door. We decided to let them help the baby (at least he wasn't in the field with the coyotes). The next morning we woke up to find him at our back door! There was a half of a gopher in the yard, so we knew the parents fed him that night. We knew we couldn't just leave him there, so we put him in our garden shed and removed the back window. He slept on the cot in there all day! We positioned a camera in the window and watched the parents bring him food that night. The next night he climbed out the window and was miraculously in his own tree the next morning! He stayed in the nest about 3 days and then started taking practice flights from palm tree to palm tree. He would often fly too low and have to climb up the tree trunk to get high enough to do it again. We stood watching quietly in our yard, inwardly cheering him on as he got better and better! We almost cried when he mastered flying. He continued to beg loudly for food for another month and then he was gone! Now I cried.

Bear Grylls and Willow continued to live in that tree until about 2 months ago, when huge chunks of palm fronds fell out of the tree, exposing the nice perch they used for their nest. Now that it was uninhabitable, they moved to the palm tree on the north side of our house. That is when we built the owl box from the Hungry Owl Project's plans because it was apparent they weren't going to use the one we had on a pole (plus we wanted to double our chances!) Now while Bear Grylls would hang out in the palm tree, he could not miss the new box.... it was right in front of him. We could hear them mating in the tree so I was sure they had already chosen their new site and wouldn't move. But we got some heavy rains that soaked their palm tree and I think that beautiful new box nestled in the pine tree was looking pretty warm and cozy because one morning four days after Christmas we woke up to find the two of them snugly sleeping inside . One week later, they had their first egg!

Although extremely grateful that we had barn owls living on both sides of our house, I prayed for owls to come live in our box! So I give God the glory for these owls! They are His creatures anyways!

Psalm 150:6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Poem from FloridaSkye

12:31 FloridaSkye: A Poem by FloridaSkye
12:31 FloridaSkye: Chatting with you has been a delight
12:31 FloridaSkye: It has sometimes made my cares seem light.
12:31 FloridaSkye: I'll find you again so all will be right.
12:32 FloridaSkye: Now FloridaSkye wishes you all a good night.
12:32 FloridaSkye: ##

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Chat will remain up!

Last night as we were all saying our sad goodbyes on chat I realized how close we have all become. We have shared each other's joy, sorrow, laughter and tears. We watched the miracle of life through two beautiful barn owls. We have encouraged and motivated each other and just plain been there for each other. We are a place you can go to get a kind word and acceptance. I cannot tell you how many countless smiles you gave me as I came into the chatroom only to be greeted by hearts, hugs, and the unconditional love I felt from everyone. This quote from Chatterchopz to her mom Dotrot sums it all up as to why the chat is staying up!

Chatterchopz said, "Mom, The chat folks love me. My family loves me but they have to 'cause they're family. The folks at church love me, but God says that they have to, but these folks love me just 'cause I'm me."

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Bear and Willow in the Love Shack!

Last night Bear had fun hopping in and out of the old box minus the front door! He also practiced his defensive skills attacking the camera in there! At 10:30 he brought a treat into the Love Shack and called Willow! She came at her convenience, took the treat and they bonded! They went in and out numerous times so I think it is safe to say they aren't too upset with the eviction notice! It was a tough call for Gary and I to make as we only want what's best for Bear and Willow! At times last night I was having horrible second thoughts. But when we reviewed the video from last night I feel much better! Not to mention I prayed all night!! Transcript of the 911 call Bear made to report stolen property will be released tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


TO: Bear and Willow Grylls
Due to the fact that we found a gopher and a rabbit in the old box this morning, we are assuming that your plan to start a second clutch is imminent. A new and improved residence
complete with personalized home decor has been provided you. To assist you in your move ( much like you assisted little Elf when you knocked him off his perch) we have removed your front door to the old box hoping this will encourage you to make the transition! Thank you for your understanding! Your Landlords, Gary and Jill

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Elf's first day out of the box!

This morning about 5:30 I watched Elf fly from the eave of our roof to the pine tree. He acted like he was going to head for the box but instead flew off! I think the other owlets were calling him to stay in the 'big boy tree' today!

Thank you Couleedam for this great shot!

Monday, April 25, 2011

My letter to Elf

Dear Elf, When you hatched you were the last of eight eggs and weren't expected to make it. I woke up every morning and hurried to the computer to see if you were still here. I remember you boldly grabbing the first treat of the night and running with it underneath Noelle! When I watched you try to drag a rabbit twice your size I knew you meant business and that you were going to make it! When we rescued you from our backyard and got to be upclose to you meant so much to me. You were beautiful! You weren't even that afraid of us. I think you knew that you could trust us! You were brave when Gary climbed 16 feet up the ladder with you to put you back into the box. Last night when Bear knocked you out of the tree we knew he meant well; he just knew it was time for you to learn to fly and be on your own soon. You were a trooper though! We watched you through the window pretend as though you wanted to be on the fence all along! To see you take your first flight took my breath away. I was so proud. I know now that I may only have a few more days with you. You will soon learn to soar silently through the night. You will find a mate and have owlets of your own. I wonder if you know how many hearts you touched? Some would say you are just an owl. I say you are my gift from God. Please be safe and come visit often. Maybe someday one of your owlets will stay in our bathroom! Thank you for the wonderful memories. You will be in my heart forever. I love you little Elf! Jill


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Elf's First Flight!

Tonight about 8pm Bear knocked Elf from the tree, we heard him fall and ran to the window to look out with the night vision Gary has. He was on the fence, probably a little stunned. A few minutes later, he walked along the fence, hopped onto the arbor and practiced hopping back and forth. Then he flew about 10 feet to a little garden shed roof! At this point I think he was pretty pleased with himself as he then did mini flights to the fence and back to garden shed roof! Suddenly Willow appears and lands next to him on the fence! She hopped to the bird feeder and back to Elf. Then Elf showed her that he could do that too! Gary and I meanwhile are in awe at what we are witnessing. Elf then flies about 12 feet to the pine tree and works his way back into the box! Although it seemed mean at the time that Bear did that, we think he knew Elf needed to be pushed "literally" in order to get ready to fledge. Gary and I will never, ever forget what we got to see tonight!!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Elf waits until daylight to go back into the box!

This morning Elf waited until daylight to go back into the box. I think he knows we are all watching him and he wanted to show off a bit! A week ago today, he was in our bathroom! Thank you Couleedam for this screen shot!

Bear and Elf on the branch

Bear seems in a great hurry to get the owlets out of the box and on their own. At times he seems to be guarding the box entrance so no one can get back in! Elf is waiting until Bear isn't looking! Thank you Hundon for this great screen shot!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Elf being returned to the box

Elf came out last night!

This morning we woke up to find Elf in our yard! We know it's him as he is the only owlet left with fluff! We called our rescue lady and because it will be over 90 degrees today, we decided to put him in a quiet room of the house! He is now sleeping soundly in my nice Smith & Hawkens basket in our spare bathroom! Don't worry guys, we left the nightlight on for him. Tonight we will return him to the box. Had we returned him this morning, we would have risked scaring the others out. Just for comparison, the top photo is Bear and Willow's only surviving owlet from last year that also ended up in our yard! Bottom photo is Elf, taken this morning! I think Elf is saying: "Where's my stroller?"

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

First Treat in the Love Shack?

At 2:42 this morning, Bear brought Willow a rat in the Love Shack! Is Bear already planning for a second clutch? This year is the 4th year we have watched Bear and Willow and so far they have never had two clutches in one season. Thank you LoneStarStateTX for this picture! I think this is a Kangaroo Rat!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Reason for Cam View Change!

This morning we woke up to find one of the owlets in the Love Shack. It may be Noelle wanting her own bedroom? Since the original cam in the main box has become so dirty with fluff and stuff it seemed a good idea to just switch cams! You can still go to www.ustream.tv/channel/garye to view the outside cam! Wonder what the reaction will be tonight when Mama Bear and Papa Bear arrive to find Goldilocks sleeping in their Love Shack!

UPDATE: A little before 2 pm, she left the box. Maybe back with other owlets or in one of many trees outside this box!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Six Beautiful Owlets

Gary took this video yesterday with his helmet cam! These are LoneStarStateTX best guesses at who's who! Thank you LoneStar!
For some days now, after keeping track of the owlets inside and outside the box, we think there is a good possibility that we only have 6 owls in the box at this time. The feathered remains of what appeared to be an owlet were found in the field near the house, and it appeared to have been there for some time. If this indeed was one of our owlets, many things could have happened; it could have gotten sick, or it could have had problems since hatching. Please realize the uncertainty in all of this, as there is absolutely no way to know who it is, or how it happened. The size points to it being one of the younger ones, although many think they are still seeing Elf. Although this is hard, we have to trust nature and her ways. We like to know everything, but also must realize sometimes there are no easy answers, and sometimes no answers at all. Please keep this in perspective, and continue to be positive, both personally and in chat, and be thankful for all of our healthy owlets that we continue to enjoy and love, and that have been given every chance for survival in a difficult world for them today.

Friday, April 8, 2011

New Box Gets Stamp of Approval from Bear and Willow

Last night at 9:00 Bear went into the new box. He looked around and chittered to Willow who joined him! As they bond, the third owl brings food to the owlets. Gary and I witnessed this while watching both boxes simultaneously. Later in the night we saw them again in the box, bonding! Willow was admiring the mural on the wall. They seemed pleased and I think I heard them asking each other: "Was Extreme Home Makeover Owlbox Edition here?"

I think the new box should be named, The Love Shack!

Both of them are in the Palm Tree next to the Pine Tree today.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

New box

Gary and I decided to go ahead and put the new box up now. It seems the owlets are having a hard time getting back in the box, and with bad weather approaching we feel this will give them a safe haven until they master flying as this is way easier to get into right from the tree branches. As soon as all the babies fledge, we will take down the old box.

New Box complete with ladder!

The new box is done! It is bigger than the other one and has a porch and ladder for easier access. It also has better cams!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Baby Bear's Day Out!

Gary went outside this afternoon for a last chance shot of the two owlets in the tree! I am in awe of their beauty! Thank you God for these beautiful owls You loaned to us!

Am I beautiful or what!

First day out of the box Sweet Peeps seems to be doing fine with all the songbirds keeping her company! Wonder what she is thinking?

Baby Bear and Sweet Peeps

Caboval came out and we quietly tooks some pictures from underneath our patio! They seem to be quite content and relaxed! Thank you Caboval!

April 6th 2011 Two owlets sleeping in the tree today

This morning Noelle, Sweet Peeps and Baby Bear were all in the pine tree! Noelle went back in the box but the other two did not. So they are both sleeping in the pine tree for the day! So much for the projects we had going out there, it will have to wait! I can watch them both from my bathroom window!!!

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fools!!!!!!!

Curiosity Kitten's pony Cara came over today for a playdate with Elf. Elfwanted Cara to pull him around in the stroller like a horse drawn carriagebut Cara politely declined. When Elf tried to share his snack with her, shejust pretended to nibble on the tiny mice so as not to offend him. She alsodidn't point out the fact that a hork was resting just below his bib either!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Jill's Poem for Elf!

My name is little Elf and I'm the tiniest of eight.
As far as odds go my chances weren't too great.
My strategy is simple: when I hear the dinner bell,
I grab a bite and quickly hide underneath Noelle.
I know I am so mighty,
I’m the star of the show!
Stepped and horked and trod upon,
I'm your little hero!
So when I am all grownup
And ready to leave the box,
I hope to be just like my Dad
Because he truly rocks!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Caption Contest!

Enter to win this stamp by Jill by naming a caption for this photo! Deadline is March 4th. Email your entries to imburner.ge@gmail.com.
Winner will be announced on March 7th! Good luck!!!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Rainbow Bridge

We have lost an owl . Thank you Vacadude for this beautiful drawing of "The Rainbow Bridge"

And a thank you goes out to our many chatters today with their well wishes, thank you for being a part of all of this!!!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Brer Rabbit and Jill

In memory of Brer Rabbit, Jills 19 year old cat. This was taken at Big Bear Lake.

#7 Hatch Twig is Hatched!

Thank you Tresbien for this fantastic shot of the 7 babies! Twig was hatched this morning at 6:20am PST

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

#6 Sparrow has hatched!

Thank you Melissa60 for this awesome screen shot!!!

"His eye is on the sparrow, And I know He watches me."

Monday, February 14, 2011

Noelle Swallows a Mouse!!!!

Noelle swallows a mouse whole!!! You can see the tail and leg sticking out of her mouth!!!! Yahoo its a milestone!!!!! Thank you couleedam for this great shot!!!!