Sunday, May 6, 2018

Cheering for #5

                #5 in the upper right, eyes closed. Note the size difference between #5 (ten days old)
                and its siblings (12 days old.)

by Trina

#5 is the temporary name (suggestions are welcome) for the fifth owlet who hatched 2 days later than its siblings and is considerably smaller, weaker, and easier to miss when feeding. We want ALL the owlets to survive, which is not likely, we know, but for now they are all still alive, and for now, I'm paying particular attention to whether #5 is getting fed during deliveries. Feedings are fairly frenetic, making it hard to see exactly what's going on, but once in a while we get a decent glimpse of #5 in the hubbub:

Here, #5 is on the left, struggling with a piece of something dead, while DH feeds the other owlets in the upper right corner:

Here, #5 makes a move and gets fed:

#5 gets food:

Here, a mere 22 minutes later, #5 gets fed again. You can hear his little beak clicking against the nest box wall as he struggles to get something down:

Feed, Sit, Leave, Rinse, Repeat

by Trina

Every morning I awake to dozens of nest cam videos from the night. The camera is motion triggered, so when there is motion, it starts recording; when the motion stops, it stops recording. If I'm awake and can answer the alert that I get when there is motion, I can make a longer video. When I'm asleep, though, the camera is on and off throughout the night, recording in short 20 to 30 second bursts of activity. Most of the clips are nearly the same sequence of parent feeding, hopping up to the hole to sit with his or her wings directly in front of the camera for a few seconds -- you definitely have to be patient with the lengthy views of an out-of-focus owl wing (ah, first world problems) --  and then leaving to go find more food. Feed, sit, leave (FSL). Return in a minute, or 3 minutes, or 25 minutes. Feed, sit, leave. Repeat. There are variations on the theme. Sometimes Boyle brings DH a kill, giving it to her as she sits in the hole. Sometimes he delivers a kill to her inside the box and she dispenses it to the babies, tearing off small pieces for them. Sometimes he delivers to the babies inside the box. Sometimes he gives her food on a branch outside and she takes it into the owlets. Either way, they are both working so very hard, all through the night, doing some version of the FSL over and over and over:

In these next 2 videos, DH does an FSL-return-FS, and then receives a delivery from Boyle, all within one minute: 

Here, both parents are in the box feeding owlets:

Saturday, May 5, 2018

More of the Owlets at 11 (and 9) Days

and one of Mom:

Serious flapping:


Owlet with wing part:

#5 with a moth? lacewing? It looks like he doesn't actually succeed at eating it, though. It gets hard to see once DH hops up into the hole to sit, but it looks like one of the larger owlets dives for the bug at 1:30 after #5 left it laying on the floor:

Owlets at 11 (and 9) Days

    (#5 is under DH in this picture.)

Two owlets venture out from under Mom:

Here, after DH feeds and leaves, you can see one of the owlets tearing at a piece of a dead thing...

... and lifting the dead thing:

Here, in the first few seconds, you can see the size difference between #5 and its siblings, and an owlet stretches its wings:

Night Terrors

by Trina

On the night of the 3rd, the nest cam caught this interesting footage. As usual, DH comes in with a kill, feeds the babies, and hops up to sit in the hole. At the one minute mark, she leaves and comes back quickly to feed again. Then, just as she's about to leave the second time, something outside apparently startles her. Here's how she reacts:

I went outside to see if I could tell what was going on but didn't see anything because, well, it was dark. The next morning, though, our local Great Horned Owl was sleeping in a tree not even a full block away, so that may well have been what scared DH. It's both really amazing and really worrisome to have a GHO in the neighborhood. It is, of course, such a treat to have wildlife like that in our busy little downtown neighborhood, but we'll be pretty unhappy if the GHOs eat our beloved WSOs. 

When the terrors of the night aren't interrupting normal activities, the parents are in and out of the nest all night long feeding the five hungry little fluffs. In the last couple of days, feedings have been getting increasingly frequent and increasingly frenzied:

In this video, feeding proceeds as usual, and then the babies react to a firecracker:

Owlets at 9 (and 7) Days

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Owlets at 8 (and 6) Days

by Trina

Eyes are an eensie weensie bit more open:

Owlets wobble, flick their wings, yawn, tussle:

Owlet between DH's wings:

DH gives an owlet what looks like a cockroach:

DH feeding owlets: