Monday, May 26, 2008

Alice Eats A Cricket

OK, turn your head sideways for this video. It's vertical on my computer, but heck if I know why it's rotated here.

Owls have a natural hunting instinct, but becoming an efficient killer is a skill that must be practiced. Mom and Dad may help this process along by not feeding the kids so much and letting them get hungry enough to be motivated to hunt.

Alice has a hunting instinct, but since I feed her every day, she's not overly motivated to figure out the whole hunting thing. So even though I live in an old farmhouse that most certainly gets mice in it, they are pretty safe from being eaten by an owl here.

That being said, Alice, in her 11 year life span, has a whopping kill list of ONE item (as far as I know). One camel cricket several years ago. Pounced on in the kitchen, one leg torn off (which I kept as a souvenir), and she crunched the rest down. What a mighty hunter!!

I've noticed her watching some other camel crickets in the house when she's been downstairs late in the past few weeks. A couple of nights ago we got home from work really late (11:30 PM after visiting with Tex Sordahl, my college advisor and Robyn Kutz, a gal I skinned birds with for Tex in college.) Alice eventually hopped down on the kitchen floor and eventually I noticed her doing some head bobbing, looking at something on the floor. It was another camel cricket.

So I took out my camera and switched it to the video setting. I wasn't holding my breath, but I had the camera ready nonetheless. The cricket didn't move, and Alice was losing interest. (That not moving thing is a really good defense when you're up against an owl.) So I pushed the cricket toward Alice. It acted dead and didn't move a muscle. Nothing from Alice. I pushed the cricket closer again.

I was about ready to give up when Alice launched into some serious head bobs, with her chin just about hitting the floor each time. I started the video recording, and wouldn't you know Alice walked right up to the cricket, reached over, picked it up in her beak, crunched it and swallowed it, just as if I had said "Lights, camera, action!" Again, she left a souvenir cricket leg.

Thanks to perfect timing, I have the video clip of Alice making another brilliant kill for your viewing pleasure. Go Alice!! May you eat many more camel crickets in this house.

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