Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Owlets at 24 and 22 Days

This is the owlets one week (!!!) before fledging.

A drop off, and #5 picks up and eats what appears to be a cockroach scrounged from the floor:

Two drop offs, the second one to #5, who has made his way up to the front of the pack:

A check-in and a drop off:

A drop off is split between two owlets:

Just a little leg stretch:

Owlets at 23 and 21 Days

Three rapid fire drop offs (the third delivery was just being brought in when the camera stopped recording):

DH returns to the nest at 9:11 in the morning, which suggests* that she didn't come back to the nest before sunrise like usual. 

One owlet standing tall to look out the hole; the other four are at the back looking up. At lower right, #5 can be seen laying down, which is how he usually sleeps.

Two drop offs. #5 is at the back, barely visible, scrounging around on the floor for scraps:

*A technical note is relevant here. The nest cam is solar powered. During the early spring, before the trees leafed out, the camera battery would get run down during the night from use, and it would then get charged back up to 100% during the day. Then the trees leafed out at the same time that the owlets stopped sitting still ever, so the battery is no longer keeping up with both the use and the lack of sunshine hitting the solar panel. Thus, the camera is dying at some point every night which means that we're missing hours of action, so I don't know for sure, but it appears that DH quit sleeping in the box with the rowdy owlets yesterday at 1 p.m. She moved out last year as well when the owlets started bouncing off the walls, and started sleeping in a nearby pine tree with Boyle.

Owlets at 22 and 20 Days

This was an important day. This was the day that the owlets were bouncing off the walls so much that DH moved out of the nest in the middle of the day. It was that bad. 

In this video, you can see how crowded the nest box is getting, and how rambunctious the ruckus. (The noises you hear outside are those of a graduation ceremony at the park a block away.)

Here, it looks to me like this is #5 working his wings a bit:

And the final flapping session that drove DH out (she left  5 minutes later):

DH did return to the nest box that evening, and made the particular kinds of noises she always makes when she's been away from the owlets for longer than average (as in, an entire hour instead of just a few minutes.) In this case, she was gone for over 5 hours:

The other milestone was that an owlet successfully made it up into the hole and sat there momentarily before (apparently, to my anthropomorphizing eye) seeing something frightful out in the world, and jumping back into the nest to hurriedly bury its head under a sibling. We have a healthy bat population so there are 6 or 8 of them whizzing right past the nest box every evening. My guess is that a bat is what scared the owlet.

Owlets at 21 and 19 Days

The older owlets are really starting to look like owls:

#5 picks up a scrap of wing from the floor. He seems to spend much more time than the others scrounging around on the floor for scraps. Perhaps his runt status will result in him being more resourceful.

A drop off:

Owlets clamoring for the hole; #5 is jostled to the back:

An owlet almost makes it up into the hole:

A drop off, and a good look at little #5:

Another drop off, and this time, I'm pretty sure that's #5 getting the moth: