Hoot and Holla, the Garden’s resident Barn Owls, were in the house this Spring!

Within two days of installing our new owl box, Hoot and Holla moved in!  Although they didn’t raise a family here this year, we were very excited to have them in The Garden and can’t wait to see them again next year.

While living in the owl box this year, Holla (Mom) decided to start a blog. See below to read about their days and nights in The Garden!

May 15, 2018

The owlets expired, probably due to 3 days of continued high heat and how very young they were. We are all saddened but understand nature usually knows best, however not always our choice. Holla it seems has left the box as we have not seen her return in the past three days. We have disconnected the feed for the Owl Cove but alas don’t be sad as we are going to begin streaming another part of The Garden soon, maybe the “watering hole” (pond) or tortoises!

Keep checking back with us to see what other amazing wildlife is in The Garden!

P.S.  Keep an eye out for Hoot and Holla next year, around February!

Sunday, May 6, 2018

As with all things in nature, sometimes it doesn’t turn out as we would want.  We are not sure what exactly happened to the owlets. We are trying to see if we can obtain the footage to determine. If anyone watching saw anything please contact us at pam@thegarden.org.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Hoot:  Holla you are such a good mommy!  I don’t know how you do it!

Holla:  No you really don’t!

Hoot:  We need to talk about names soon Holla.

Holla:  Yes we do but I just can’t make up my mind, we might need some help.

Hoot:  I know what we should name them… Hoot One, Hoot Two, Hoot Three and Hoot Four!  What do you think?

Holla:  I think NOT!

Holla:  Stand by Hoot I may ask for help from The Garden and from “Tank, Bernie and Mr. Peabody” the tortoises!



Monday, April 23, 2018

Holla: Hey Hoot, thank you for the yummy snack last night!  I’m glad you’re honing your hunting skills so you will be able to help me feed our owlets once they hatch.  Their due dates are approaching fast!

Hoot: Yes, Holla, I am doing my best and want to make sure our little ones stay strong and well-fed.  When is the first due date again?

Holla: Oh Hoot, how could you forget? It’s April 28, the same day as the Spring Garden & Butterfly Festival!  Wouldn’t it be special if the first egg hatched during the festival?

Hoot: Holla, I’m not sure if I’m ready yet.  That’s only 5 days away!

Holla: Oh, don’t worry Hoot.  You’re going to be a great Owl Papa!




Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Holla:  I’m really liking this cooler weather Hoot!

Hoot:  Me too, are you keeping the eggs warm?

Holla:  This isn’t my first rodeo Hoot, of course I am.

            I needed to stretch my wings last night so I went out

            for a short flight.  You wouldn’t believe what I saw!

Hoot:  What did you see?

Holla:  I saw you roosting in the Palm tree!




Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Holla:  Hoot…we only have four eggs, I was so tired I counted one twice!

Hoot:  Four is a good number Holla!



Monday, April 9, 2018

Holla:  Hoot you are not going to believe it but we have FIVE eggs!  Yes, five!

Hoot:  I wanted to talk to you about that!

Holla:  Ditto!!!

Holla:  It was a busy weekend Hoot, have you met the Desert Tortoises yet?  We have four!

Hoot:  Yes I introduced myself.  They are so nice but they move really slow.

Holla:  I know Hoot but that’s what Desert Tortoises do.  Our friend Jean Immanshue donated them to The Garden because she knows The Garden will take really good care of them.  We are waiting to celebrate their official arrival in May.  We wanted them to get comfortable and adjusted in their new home.   But you can see them in their new enclosure!

Hoot:  I love their little “houses”!

Holla:  They are cute but they are really important for keeping them safe at night.

Hoot:  See you tonight Holla

Holla:  See you to tonight Hoot!



Monday, April 2, 2018

Holla:   Hoot I can’t seem to get comfortable roosting on these three eggs!

Hoot:   Have you tried turning them?

Holla:   Yes Hoot, I turn them all the time, you know that’s what we have to do, we don’t want sick babies.

(Scientists believe that most birds rotate their eggs to ensure that the embryo gets enough albumen—the mixture of water and protein that makes up the “egg white” part of an embryo and provides nutrients to the developing chick.)

Hoot:  Guess what?   Our first owlet is due on National Arbor Day, April 27th!

Holla:  Should we name him/her Arbtrey?  Get it…Arb  Tree?

Hoot:  Yes I get it Holla but not really a fan.  Maybe we should have a owlet naming contest.

Holla:  Hmm…let me think about that!



Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Holla:  My oh my Hoot I’ve gone and laid another egg!

Hoot:  Well isn’t that great?!

Holla:  I’m hoping you load me up tonight with my favorites.  You know how I get those odd cravings.

Hoot:  I’m well aware Holla…I’ll do my best.


Friday, March 23, 2018

Holla:  Hey Hoot, what a busy few days!   I am so excited about the Garden’s Home Garden Tour on Saturday, the 24th! I did a “fly- over” the Cloud’s home who is on the tour, wow it’s in the shape of Africa!

Hoot:  I saw you over there the other day and was wondering what you were doing out in the daytime.

Holla:  I wanted to get a preview.  Did you see the American Heritage Girls group on Tuesday?  They looked really happy!

Hoot:  I did see them J.  Holla it’s so nice to have this rain but it is putting a real damper on my flying, you know our feathers are not water proof!

Holla:  Yes I do know Hoot, I’m a barn owl too you know!!

Hoot:  Uh … Holla, while you were out visiting today, I told my sister she could stop by, I hope you don’t mind.

Holla:  Oh Hoot I wish I would have known earlier the house is a mess!

Hoot:  She won’t mind, she just needed a place to stop in during the rain.

Holla:  Ok whatever.  What are you making for dinner?

Hoot:  Not sure, I’m kind of a “fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants” kinda guy!

Holla:  Surprise me!




Friday, March 16, 2018

It’s been over a week now and Hoot and Holla are staying close!  They are in the box every night and Holla is usually in the nesting box all day.  Here are some interesting barn owl facts:

  • Barn Owls usually have a hunting range of 2-3 miles from their nesting box

  • The barn owl is the most widely distributed species of owl

  • Barn Owls screech – they never hoot

  • A wild Barn Owl usually eats about 4 small mammals every night, that’s 1,460 per year!

  • Barn Owls ears are lopsided, one is higher than the other for triangulation of sound

  • Barn Owls eyes are fixed (not moveable) that is why they have the very cool adaptation of turning their head 270 degrees


Holla:  Wow it’s been quite a week Hoot!  We’ve  seen Albert Einstein Academy again (they must love The Garden as much as I do) and Kempton Elementary Earth Heroes, Tomatomania was awesome,  San Diego State Geography Class looked very smart while they were on tour today, but I think my highlight was The San Diego Gulls!

Hoot: The San Diego Gulls hockey team was here?

Holla: Uh, no Hoot but The Garden and Ms. Smarty-Plants™ were honored at the ice rink on Tuesday as the Community Spotlight!  Don’t you keep up on Facebook Hoot?

Hoot:  Oh

Holla:  The Expert Forum is happening on Sunday so I’ll be watching from my perch to learn about capturing rain water, even though I’m nocturnal I don’t want to miss it.

Hoot:  Well I’ll probably be sleeping in the Palm tree.

Holla:  Of course you will!



Friday, March 9, 2018

Holla: “Hoot did you see Ms. Smarty-Plants on KUSI TV on Wednesday?  She did great!  I smiled for the camera because Allie and the cameraman Mike took a shot of owl box!

Scott from Tomatomania did great too can’t wait to see all those plants he brings this weekend”

Hoot: “I did see it Holla I was watching from the big palm tree.  Tomatomania will be fun this weekend at The Garden”



Thursday, March 8, 2018

Holla: “Another great day here at The Garden Hoot”. I got to see my Earth Heroes from Albert Einstein Academy and from Davila”.

Hoot:. “I know they were so excited!

Oh by the way Holla, how did you like dinner last night I brought your favorite?”

Holla: ” Thanks Hoot, it was yummy but I’m really full..I ate the whole thing”



Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Hoot and Holla have returned to the owl box and as suspected, the 5 eggs previously laid were not viable, but with their return Holla may lay more!  Let’s watch and see!


Friday, March 2, 2018

Hello Everyone!

Nature is both amazing and can sometimes be worrisome to us humans.

Both Hoot and Holla have been away from the nesting box for a day and the eggs have been unattended.  Although it is unusual for the female to leave the eggs, this can occur for a variety of reasons, the most common almost always because the female is underweight and/or needing more food.  If the male cannot provide enough food the female will then help with the hunting. The eggs in the nest box may not be viable, but with the return of Holla there is a good chance she will lay more eggs.

We will be watching for the return of Hoot and Holla!


Thursday, March 1, 2018

Holla:  Hoot I have a little surprise for you…egg number 5!

Hoot:  Do I need a third job?



Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Holla:  I was so excited to see all my Earth Heroes from Veteran’s Elementary today!  They were awesome!  Keep up the great work!!


Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Holla:  What a night, it was chilly but the rain was awesome!

Hoot:  I know Holla we really need the rain here.

Holla:  I’m so excited Hoot the kids are here today from Davila Day Deaf School!  They are making Valentine “Owl” Boxes.  They all have a picture of us on their boxes and are learning all about Barn Owls with Ms. Smarty-Plants.

Hoot:  I saw them in the Veggie Garden while I was picking (hunting) up your lunch.  It looked like they were getting ready for lunch too, picking green stuff out of the ground.

Holla:  Hoot that was lettuce, greens and cilantro they planted a few months ago.  Now it’s ready to eat.  Didn’t they do a great job?

Hoot:  Yes I’m proud of them!

Holla:  Ms. Smarty-Plants says this is means “I Love You” in American Sign Language

Hoot:  I like that!



Saturday, February 24, 2018

Holla:  Well it warmed up a bit today Hoot.  But you know what I think I’m laying another egg!

Hoot:  We are up to four eggs now…I need a second job!


Friday, February 23, 2018

Holla:  Brrr it was a little chilly this morning, thanks for bringing me breakfast in bed Hoot!  I’m glad you are cuddling with me Hoot and helping me keep the kids warm. (3 eggs now)

Hoot:  I know Holla.  Wasn’t it fun seeing Mr. Craven and Ms. Keuse’s  students from Lincoln Acres today?

Holla:  I love it when we have Earth Heroes in The Garden!




Tuesday,  February 20, 2018

Holla:  Wow what a busy day… I laid another egg!!  Thanks Hoot for my snack afterwards (a nice rodent).  Time for a snooze, I’m a little tired I, really hope Hoot is making dinner tonight too!

About Barn Owls

Barn Owls live in open habitats across most of the lower 48 United States and extend into a few parts of southern Canada (as well as in much of the rest of the world). These include grasslands, deserts, marshes, agricultural fields, strips of forest, woodlots, ranchlands, brushy fields, and suburbs and cities.  They fly slowly over open fields at night or dusk with slow wingbeats and a looping, buoyant flight. They use their impressive hearing, aided by their satellite-dish-shaped faces, to locate mice and other rodents in the grass, often in complete darkness.

Barn Owls are usually monogamous and mate for life, although there are some reports of males with more than one mate. After the pair forms, the male brings prey to the female (often more than she can consume), beginning about a month before she starts laying eggs. Barn Owls defend the area around their nests, but don’t defend their hunting sites; more than one pair may hunt on the same fields.

Barn Owls put their nests in holes in trees, cliff ledges and crevices, caves, burrows in river banks, and in many kinds of human structures, including barn lofts, church steeples, houses, nest boxes, haystacks, and even drive-in movie screens. Unlike most birds, owls may use their nest sites for roosting throughout the year. (Info courtesy of allaboutbirds.org).