Monday, November 06, 2006

Picking Out a Nest

In Alice's world, it's time to start picking out a nest. She may run ahead of the wild owl schedule since she's indoors and exposed to more light, but I just talked to her rehabilitator, Marge Gibson, and her male Great Horned Owl has been hooting like a madman for a month already, which is a month early for him too, and he's housed outdoors. Hmmmm...maybe there's something the owls know that we don't.

At any rate, Alice's laundry basket nest in her room got a fresh lining of basswood shavings this fall. She seems to like it, and often sleeps on the edge of her basket during the day. But she also seems bent on checking other possible locations, just in case.

One spot she's come back to a few times is under the guest bed in our combination guest bedroom/office. We keep our packing materials under there, but she just seems to have fun sliding along in her belly, ripping at the newspaper and bubble wrap.

Another spot she always likes to check out is on the side kitchen counter where we keep a small "Owl's Nest" cheese dip container of owl pellets. Hmmm...maybe she can read and that's why she thinks it's a good spot. I wonder if the company makes really big cheese dip containers....

Then this morning I had a big, wicker basket I intended to put up as an artificial nest for the wild owls on the side kitchen counter. It did not escape Alice's attention. She hopped in, even though it had no lining whatsoever, and scratched around in it. When she hopped out I filled it with basswood shavings and that was too much--she was right back in it, scratching around. Seems to "fit" just right.

But she still went up to her room and (after caching her leftover gopher by the bookcase) is sleeping on her nest basket. But don't let that fool you--she'll still hoot anytime either of us sticks our head in her room during the day. The photo of her on this nest basket is taken in mid-hoot--note the inflated gular sac which makes her look like a frog and the tail cocked up.

Maybe having lots of nest choices will get her to lay an egg...or maybe it'll just confuse her. At any rate, I'm trying to be very solicitous this year to see if we can make an egg.

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