Thursday, January 08, 2009

Alice EATS Her Egg

Today is Thursday, and Alice hasn't eaten a speck of food since last Friday. Just some sips of water. They don't eat when laying, but she never did lay a second egg.

And this morning there was an open eggshell under her nest basket.
There was no mess on the floor, so it didn't fall and break (she would have had to figure out a way to pick it up and toss it out for that to happen.) And there was no mess IN the nest. From the marks on the egg, I'm betting she ate the insides. I thought she might have eaten the shell for the calcium, but all of the shell was there.
So I decided this woman needs to get off her nest and eat something! I took away the replica egg left in her nest, so she had nothing to sit on. Fifteen minutes later she was off her nest making a beeline for the gopher head on her feeding tray. She grabbed it and started hooting and hopping around with it. I was sure she'd eat it. But instead she cached it and went back to sit on her empty nest!
I started to wonder if I'm failing as her mate in some way. Am I supposed to make a certain sound when I offer food? Behave a certain way around the nest? Something that I'm not doing to cue her to eat?? Nothing I could figure out....
So she hooted on her nest when I came home from work, and only got off her nest for a bit. Later on after I returned from a walk she was in the hallway. Hallelujah! I checked in her room and she had eaten a few bites of gopher. Not much, but still it was something. After maybe an hour or two she returned to sit on her nest.
So much for the whole idea of having her sit on her egg and observe behavior and vocalizations. She doesn't seem to have it figured out yet, as sometimes happens with first-time owl moms in the wild.