More owls on eggs today. The Brown Wood Owl that has been in the nest box for the last few days was sitting really low today and not getting up for anything. I’m classing her as nesting as of today. Counting in the diary, her eggs, usually just two in this species, should hatch around the same date as the Spotted Eagle Owls.
I also found that the Tropical Screech Owls have three eggs. They and the Western Screech Owls have been very secretive of late, spending most days in the nest box. The males of both species have been sitting outside or just in the hole of the box looking out, but the females have been inside. I wanted to give them a few days to get settled – if I disturbed them when they were just laying eggs they could abandon the attempt altogether. If the clutch has been laid though the bird has more invested and will be more likely to tolerate a brief disturbance, as long as it is very brief. I didn’t know if they were laying eggs at all, but I also didn’t know if they were alive or dead so I had to check at some point. The Western Screech Owls were reluctant to leave the nest box but there were no eggs. I may well check them again in a week to see if the situation has changed. The Tropical Screech Owls breed quite well in collections in the UK but the Western Screech would be good to breed. Of course it would be good to breed all of the owls!
Over in our flying displays, today I flew Prince again in his second show with an audience. He flew well again and finished off with a nice mid-flight change of direction that showed that Ashy Faced Owls – Barn Owls from the Caribbean – are more maneuverable than expected. He may not have quite the class or style of Lofty the Barn Owl (yet!) but the kid done good. We’ll see how he does tomorrow.
Training Hudson and Broo after hours again, we found that the European Eagle Owl was the one that coped with the new microphone speaker system better. I hadn’t expected Hudson the Great Horned to be as distracted as he was. He will adjust, just like the others have. We’ll keep up their practice sessions over the next few days. Broo was great though, less distracted and full of energy. It won’t be long before she flies for an audience.
After my blog yesterday someone asked about how our Tawny Frogmouth is doing. Well Woody is doing just great. Today I gathered a group of visitors into the Rainforest Realm to see Woody being hand fed. I warned everyone to be ready as he is fast, really fast! I can barely get through the door of his aviary these days before he flies to land on my arm/shoulder/head. I am feeding him two chicks a day now, plus a few chicken legs. With the chicken legs he now displays another part of the natural behaviour of the Tawny Frogmouth. As they would in the wild, when they get some prey that is a bit too big or long or whatever, they whack it against the tree branch they are perched on until the prey is dead (and mushy!). He whacks the chicken leg against my arm though! Again it’s amazing to think about how different and how far this bird has come since arriving at the centre.
Well time for me to sign off. ‘Til tomorrow then, gnite.