Owlets Feast This Morning!

March 7, 2016 by Rick Cunningham

About 6:00 on March 7th Mom heard Dad approaching and hopped off the nest for exactly one minute. She apparently rendezvoused with Dad and picked up a fresh meal for the owlets.

The two owlets, now 8 and 11 days old, made short work of the meal. The larger seemed to get the lion’s share, but Mom made sure that both got what they needed. They eat like teenagers! In particular, notice what a huge piece of the prey that the larger owlet was able to wolf down near the end of the film. Even though “lion’s share” and “wolf down” may seem the wrong species (not to mention genus!), the Great Horned Owl is often called the Tiger Owl, partly due to its coloration but even moreso for its fearsomeness as a hunter!

Breakfast in Bed (with Heated Down Comforter)!

March 2, 2016 by Rick Cunningham

The owlet has a big biteMom carefully feeds an owletMom’s carefully passing pieces of food to one of the Owlets, who promptly drops it. She picks it up and offers it again and finally the owlet swallows it.






Note there’s plenty of prey in the nest, but it’s been going fast. Mom needs plenty of food to keep the owlets warm, and they are growing fast and need that fuel!







Two Owlets Being Fed





Snuggled next to Mom’s brood patch, they’ve got their own heated down comforter to keep them toasty…


The Pantry’s Full, The Owlets are Growing

March 1, 2016 by Rick Cunningham

Screen Shot 2016-03-01 at 6.48.53 AMMom took a quick break at around 6:00 this morning, giving us a great view of the two owlets. They are doing the usual slow motion wrestling match, and staying close to each other for warmth.

Dad’s been bringing prey to neighboring trees so that Mom can retrieve it without being gone too long. The owlets were just over an ounce in weight when they hatched, and they have started gaining a little over an ounce a day. If all goes well, by the end of the first month they will weigh in the neighborhood of 2 pounds each! They are going to need lots of food to gain all that weight, and so far it looks like they will have all they can eat!

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Finally Some Food!

February 29, 2016 by Rick Cunningham

Screen Shot 2016-02-28 at 6.42.48 PMWell, it was a long wait for the new owlet to have its first meal since hatching!

The hatch was sometime very early on Sunday morning, but Mom kept the new owlet and its sibling covered and warm through the night and then didn’t have any prey in the nest during the day.

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Finally about two hours after dark on Sunday, Dad brought a rat and stashed it in an adjacent tree.  Mom hopped out of the nest to quickly retrieve it.








Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 7.36.39 AMThen overnight Dad kept bringing more food and this morning Mom and the owlets have a very full pantry.








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Notice how carefully Mom steps around the owlets – she has her huge talons folded
completely back so her footprint is now much smaller AND much less sharp!



The DVR “Loopback” is Back!

February 26, 2016 by Rick Cunningham

You should notice that the camera menu above the main video window has changed. There are now entries for the view from Cams 1 & 2, DVR’s for Cams 1 & 2 and Time-Lapse Videos for Cams 1 & 2. Please let us know if there are any problems with this new capability!


Cam1 Cam2 Cam1 DVR Cam2 DVR Cam1 TL Cam2 TL


And check out this Cheeky Squirrel from yesterday afternoon. It was the owlet’s third feeding on his hatch day, and this squirrel was very curious about what was going on. You have to ask yourself what that squirrel was thinking as it watched mom feeding the owlet. The squirrel had better hope the next visit to the GHOW nest is not a one way trip!

We have 2016 Owlet #1!

February 25, 2016 by Rick Cunningham

This little ball of fluff showed up this morning, but we don’t really know yet when it actually hatched. Maybe some of the archived video will tell us! You can look back up to four hours at this test page.

HatchDay Preparation

February 24, 2016 by Rick Cunningham

In this short video, we get a good look at Mom taking a food break about 2:30 am on Wednesday February 24, a day we hope will come to be known as HatchDay for owlet number one. We don’t see the pip in this video, but saw it clearly in still shots later in the morning, about 5:30. In this video, Mom clearly sees her mate bring food to a nearby tree and she takes a short break from the nest to retrieve it. Did she eat anything herself while she was away? Did she get a chance for a bathroom break? Is this the day?? Stay tuned!

Happy Hatchday?

February 24, 2016 by Rick Cunningham

Mom went out for a bite at 5:30 giving us a good look at the eggs. This little owlet has been working on breaking through it’s shell for some time now, but it looks like there’s a definite pip now. There’s still a LOT of work to do to break through the shell, and we won’t declare the chick hatched until it’s head is completely out of the shell. Meanwhile, Mom’s laid in a tasty swamp rat and snuggled back on the eggs. At first light there’s a gentle rain beginning and the wind’s kicking up, but the eggs are plenty warm.

And for those of you who read this post all the way through, we have set up a new test of the DVR system. If you go to this page you will see the Cam2 DVR with up to a 4 hour lookback. It seems to be working OK. From there you can jump to the Cam 1 DVR but you might not find that it’s working just yet. For those who find their way to those pages, we would appreciate some feedback on how it’s working for you. Happy Hatchday all!

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Is this a Pip??

February 23, 2016 by Rick Cunningham

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At 5:14 PM on February 23 Mary Lambright was on camera duty and saw Mom leave the nest – she zoomed in on the eggs and thought she saw several places where the owlet had begun to crack the egg. Is one of these cracks completely broken through?

“Pipping” is when the chick starts breaking through its shell using a hard projection on its bill called the “egg tooth”. The resulting hole is the “pip” that the chick enlarges to finish hatching. Young pip the egg and emerge without assistance from the parents.(1)


(1) http://www.birds.cornell.edu/page.aspx?pid=2710#nest-egg-pipping

Educational Activities – and Guess the Hatch Date!

February 22, 2016 by Rick Cunningham


Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 12.06.50 PMMom’s waiting and so are we! When will our first owlet emerge from the egg? Head over to our education page and take a look at the data from last year, and then compare it with this year’s dates. If you can guess the date and time, Guess the Owl Hatch Date 2016 you can win a spiffy stadium blanket from the Cornell Lab of ornithology. Also on the education page you can find our new map of the classrooms who are following our owls and have registered with us, and a lot of other information on K-12 activities you can use with your kids. Check it out!

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