I haven’t been able to log into WordPress for the last few days, so apologies for the lack of blog entries. It isn’t the first time I’ve had problems with the site and I envision moving to a different host at some point. For now it appears I’m here.
We have been continuing to experience an overabundance of eggs in the collection this week, it seems to be the theme for the year. Well, except in the case of the Tropical Screech Owls who seem to have ‘lost’ their three eggs at some point. It isn’t unusual for a female to eat eggshell to get the calcium back into her system so I assume her eggs were infertile and she did some recycling of materials. It’s a shame but at least she laid some eggs to begin with. Maybe next year, with no disruption from moving home and the noise of a building site, they will have fertile eggs.
So like I say, an overabundance of eggs; we discovered on Thursday that our two female Ferruginous Pygmy Owls had six eggs between them, both sat in the same little nestbox. If only we had a male! We have the same situation with our Tawny Owls of course, with both girls sitting faithfully on four eggs each, squashed together in a nestbox built for one.
Our lone Southern Boobook Owl laid a second egg on Thursday, discarding it on the woodchip floor of her aviary. A more positive discovery was that our Little Owls are definitely nesting now, with the female sitting on five eggs. At least there is a pair of them, although they are unproven when it comes to breeding, so we can at least cross our fingers and hope for the best.
Even Oulu, our trained Great Grey Owl laid an egg yesterday! She’s been flying most days in our displays too! She has been heavier and in the mornings I have seen broody nesting behaviour from her, so I’m not so surprised that she is in condition and ready to breed. We will not fly her in shows now until we are sure she is not carrying any more eggs inside her. If she was, and they broke inside her, she could die of a condition known as egg peritonitis. Her egg, at this time of the year, has given me unexpected renewed hope that there may still be a breeding attempt from our pair of Great Greys in the collection.
At least all these eggs show that we have a lot of very healthy female owls in our collection.
I suppose if we were to look on the positive and hopeful side, there could still be time for a late breeding season this year. If we had a warm June through to late September that would give plenty of time for our owls to court, mate, incubate and raise owlets before winter comes. I don’t like looking on the gloomy side of things, and it has been disheartening lately seeing birds like our Northern Hawk Owls and Ural Owls breeding attempts result in infertile eggs. All we need is a good period of good weather…
Over in our display arena we have continued to train the smallest member of our team – smallest but not youngest. Poncho the Tropical Screech Owl has been flying really well these last few days. I still find it odd to see such a small owl flying around the arena but he acts like it’s the most normal thing in the world. Once he reached his ideal weight – just 100 grams! – and sat on the glove for half an hour or so, he figured it all out really quickly. Quicker than some of our larger owls!
Our youngest member of the team is doing well too. Sam the American Barn Owl already towers over little Poncho at just six weeks old. The owlet has been appearing in the displays this week and has begun to walk around, exploring. He or she (we won’t know which for at least another month or more) has been amusing us all with behaviour none of us have seen in an owlet before – snoring! The owlet seems to like standing with it’s chin resting on or against the top of the box and go to sleep. Then after a few minutes it begins to squeak. When I first heard it I thought there was something wrong with it, but it’s just sleeping! Maybe dreaming of mice?
Well I’ll sign off and get some sleep myself I think. No dreaming of mice though I hope! ‘Til next time then, gnite!