Saturday, January 01, 2005

Quiet Begging Calls

Well, Alice's eye wasn't bugging her at all by the end of the next that's good.

She's started making soft little begging calls lately, almost every day. Apparently human-imprinted owls are more vocal than owl-imprinted owls, and they tend to retain their begging calls more, at least from what I've heard. Alice still does begging calls (kind of a loud "waaaaa!" sound) on occasion, but not often. But lately she's been doing lots of quiet begging-type calls. They sound the same, but are much quieter...kind of one step up from a whisper. I thought maybe this was a more "intimate" sound, since she's been very nesty and hooty lately. Last night proved that theory wrong!

We conduct an annual New Year's Eve Owl Prowl for the Houston Nature Center. This year we called in Eastern Screech- and Barred Owls for the 22 participants. We ended up at our house, where Alice is a guaranteed Great Horned Owl for everyone to see...and there's hot chocolate to drink to warm up! I brought Alice downstairs to the kitchen where everyone was standing, but her preference (no big surprise) was to head back upstairs to her "territory." Several folks went partway up the stairs to watch her sitting on the Astroturf-covered railing and see the egg cartons she likes to shred. And Alice started making the soft begging calls with a bunch of strangers standing right there in "her" stairway! So much for them being a private kind of a call.

Time to develop a new theory.

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