Owls

Recent Video Highlights 10/13 and NEW 10/17

October 19, 2015 by Rick Cunningham

We’re going to attempt to reprise the last week’s events with short videos – here’s the first couple of installments from Tuesday Evening Oct 13 and Saturday Morning Oct 17. In the first video, the female GHO arrives around 6:48 and stays for about 25 minutes. She spends her time excavating a nesting cavity, moving some sticks around, and generally trying the nest on for size. Most nights last week we had visits from both owls, and the male brought food to the female as part of the ritual of deciding on a nesting site. Check out the brand new video below! This is a bit earlier than last year, so we will be very interested to see just how variable the time frame for nesting really is. Stay tuned – a couple more videos later today!

Tips for quality viewing: If the video isn’t very sharp, try clicking on the “gear” icon in the YouTube video window. Choose 720P to get full HD video quality. However, if that pauses too often, try using a lower video resolution. It’s also a good idea to close any other windows that might be trying to simultaneously play the camera feed!

Questions from Mrs. Hill’s 1st Block elementary school class

February 2, 2015 by Dot Bambach

 

Here are responses to some questions about the owl nest posed by Bryan County elementary school children:

Keegan wonders if there are feathers inside the eggs that keep them warm when the mother owl leaves the nest.

Answer:  The eggs contain only the developing chick, not feathers, although as the date of hatching approaches, the chicks will start to develop a few downy feathers .  The eggs get pretty warm while the mother owl is sitting on them (about 100 degrees F) and they will retain heat for quite a while even when placed in a cold environment.  Here’s an experiment you can do with the help of an adult at home (or your teacher at school) — Cook an egg in boiling water for about five minutes.  Then use a spoon to remove the egg from the pan it was cooked in and place the egg in the refrigerator.  Open the refrigerator 5 minutes later and feel the egg.  Is it cold yet or still warm?  If still warm, leave it for another 5 minutes and then check it again.  See how long it takes before the egg feels as cold as everything else in the refrigerator.

Jacob asks if we will still be recording after the eggs hatch.

Answer:   YES!  We’ll keep the cameras rolling because things get really interesting once those little chicks appear.

Courtney would like to know how the baby owls will stay warm once they hatch.

Answer:  The mother owl will sit down gently on top of the young chicks to keep them warm (this is called “brooding”) for about the first week after they hatch.  It’s similar to how she kept the eggs warm to incubate them.  After that, the chicks will have grown enough feathers to keep themselves warm.

And finally, everyone here at The Landings Owl Cam agrees with Seth, who says, “We are having a hooting good time watching her!”

Thanks for watching and asking such good questions!

Fixing Up The Nursery

January 30, 2015 by Rick Cunningham

The chicks might hatch any day now, and Eagle Nest 2014-10-28 at 6.51.23 PMMom’s apparently decided to do something about the forked stick that’s been impinging on her as she incubates the eggs since January 1 when the first egg was laid. In the image at the right, above the left hand side of the nest, you see a long forked stick leaning across or spanning three large branches of the tree.

That stick was placed there by our bald eagle sometime in September after returning to the nest as a solo. Later the eagle spotted the owl’s indentation in the nest and filled it in, smoothed things out, and moved that large stick over the place where the indentation was. Seems like he/she didn’t like the modifications to the nest. 

The stick is forked, and every time mom tried to move it, it would just rock back and forth. She would move the part on the right in front of her face and the other part would then stick her in the ribs. She’s tried to gnaw it away, but finally in this video she picks it up and gets it out of the way. Way to go Mom!

Sounds at sunrise

January 29, 2015 by Dot Bambach

Around daybreak, the female owl often begins “squawking”, which is a food solicitation call to the male, then flies off. Sometimes you can continue to hear her squawking in the background (and him hooting) while the eggs are untended. Other birds that start vocalizing at dawn and can almost always be heard are Northern Cardinal, Carolina Wren and, occasionally, American Crow.

Later in the morning, you will start hearing the metallic “thwack” of golfballs being hit off the adjacent tee. This sound usually occurs in fours, spaced a bit apart, as foresomes tee off right below the nest. (Fortunately we adjusted the sound so that we cannot hear the words anyone is saying on errant shots!)

One way to tell if the female owl is eating

January 21, 2015 by Dot Bambach

 

Owls typically swallow their prey more or less whole — head, skin and bones.  Rather than pass the indigestible bits through their entire digestive system, where they might cause intestinal damage or blockage, owls simple cough up a “pellet” — a neatly wrapped package of fur and bones that is about the size of half a standard hot dog.  So if searching the ground in the general vicinity of the nest tree finds pellets, we can be pretty sure that feeding and digesting is going on in the area.  On the other hand, absence of pellets might simply mean that the female owl prefers a more distant tree for hacking up the remains of yesterday’s meal…

GHO pellet

Image from birdcanada.com

 

A Day In the Life of a Great Horned Owl

January 19, 2015 by Rick Cunningham

Ever wondered what’s been happening while you weren’t around? How often and at what time does she leave the nest? Is it about the same time(s) every day? Wish you could review the entire day to see what you missed?

Well here it is, the whole day in a 3 minute video, thanks to the wizardry of Tim Sears of HD OnTap. You can also choose earlier days from the pulldown menu. This has only been enabled for a few days now, but more will be added each day.

 See “A Day in the Life..” click for Time Lapse View

 

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