Monday, March 01, 2010

Removing the Egg

This will just be a quickie since I'm in the middle of the final preparations for our International Festival of Owls March 5-7.

Alice has been dutifully sitting on her egg for 18 days, only getting off for seven minute breaks once or maybe twice a day. Since I wanted to let her incubate as long as possible since that's what her body and mind want, she got to skip two programs this past week. Instead of meeting Alice those groups were treated to video footage of Alice on her nest, eating, drinking, and more.

But Alice needs to attend the owl festival this coming weekend to be inducted into the World Owl Hall of Fame, so I needed to take her egg away before she was finished with a month of sitting on it.

I did that last night when she was off her nest. But when she returned to her nest, she didn't even appear to notice the egg was missing at all and just settled down as usual. About two hours later she started hooting. She was off her egg a few times during the night, and pretty much all day today. She seemed to enjoy being back to looking out the windows, shredding egg cartons, and all of her usual daily activities.

Right after we removed the egg, Hein poked holes in each end and blew out the contents. We thought an egg that had been incubated for 18 days would be raunchy and difficult to blow, but it blew out as easy as a fresh egg and didn't smell at all. (Hein had an egg collection as a child when it was legal to do, so he was the right man for this job!)

We weighed the eggshell and contents and measured the egg itself. Then we looked up typical measurements in the literature. Confirmed: Alice's egg was MONSTROUS!!! I should have weighed it when it was laid and during incubation for better measurements, but still. It's huge! If I didn't lock my door when I'm gone during the day I'd think someone put a goose egg under her.

So anyway, life is returning to normal here, and Alice seems her normal self.