Wednesday, January 12, 2005

No Eggs Yet

I was thinking this might be the year for Alice to lay eggs. Human-imprinted birds sometimes do this, but of course the eggs are sterile. Then they usually want to incubate them, but the eggs never hatch. (I would need a separate breeding permit to fertilize Alice.)

Alice is almost 8 now. Around Christmas she got EXTREMELY hooty, wanting to hoot with me may times every day. She also started sleeping in or near her nest box. To top it off, she also stopped eating every day. The eating thing would have worried me, but I read in A Place For Owls, by Katherine McKeever (the Owl Lady of Canada) that her Spectacled Owl, Granny, stopped eating regularly, wanted constant attention, and wouldn't leave her nest box before she laid her first egg. So I thought maybe we'd get eggs this year....

Well, I'm pretty sure that's not going to happen now. Although she's still quite hooty some days, other days she isn't. She doesn't always sleep by her nest box anymore--sometimes she sleeps on top of the bi-fold door to her room (with her ear tufts smooshed up against the ceiling because she doesn't fit there very well.) Her eating has settled into a mostly every-other-day routine, but I notice it's always the front end that she eats. (The front end tastes better.)

In previous years, she's continued with some hooting and clucking in her nest box on a limited basis way into spring and maybe even early summer, so her current "nestiness" may not necessarily mean anything's going to happen.

The wild owls most likely don't have eggs yet, but Alice is indoors and exposed to more light than if she lived outdoors, so she tends to run ahead of schedule. Normally she drops her first flight feather in late December or early January, but I've yet to find a feather this year. So although I think we got closer to eggs this year than ever before, I'm not expecting to find any (but I do still check--you never know, and I'm not an expert on these matters!)

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