Monday, January 03, 2011


Last night I tried a variety of things to help Iris get settled and think more about nesting. We put out two live mice (one at a time). Iris mostly ignored them, but Rusty had a great time catching them. He at the first one, but the second one he took to the feeding platform and left it. Iris later flew down and ate it.'re supposed to feed Iris directly!

I also put a cardboard box on its side with shredded egg cartons in it in a corner of the cage. Alice loves to check these out as potential nests, so I though Iris might too. After NEVER seeing Iris on the ground, I caught her on the ground for about six minutes at about 7:25 this morning as she walked over to the box, went in, came back out, and thought about it a long time. Maybe she wants a different nest!

I also put a replica Great Horned Owl egg in the nest. So far no one has paid any attention to it.

But tonight we had REAL action!! I was away from the computer but thought I heard low grunty sounds coming from Rusty. I checked the video and he was on the hide box making quiet grunts. It didn't take long, though, and he flew to the perch at the far side of the cage and landed near Iris. The grunts continued and he walked toward her. The light wasn't great but it was easy to see that he was trying to stuff the food in her mouth! She wasn't as receptive as she could have been, but she didn't fly away. She did a couple of flights to hang on the wire, BUT she came back to land right next to Rusty both times.

I think hormones are starting to kick in even though she's fighting them a bit yet. Keep at it Rusty!!!


  1. Wow! Sounds like things are looking up...

    A few notes from last night/this morning:

    Last night (03 Jan 2011), at 19:25 PST, Rusty hoots off-camera in his usual pattern. He hoots again about 2 minutes later, still off-camera.

    This morning (04 Jan 2011), at about 2:36 PST, Rusty hoots in usual pattern, with an extra short syllable at the end (Hoo hoohoohoohoohoo Hooo hoo hoo), pauses, then hoots again in his usual pattern, pauses about a minute, and hoots again in his usual pattern, then again after about 20 seconds, and once again after about 40 seconds.

    At about 03:58 PST, a quiet trilling hoot (Hoohoohoohooohoo) is heard, twice, possibly from outside (sounds like a male? Victor?). Rusty and Iris are on the perch by the owl door--can't really see if it was one of them hooting, but whoever's on the right does a bit of head-bobbing.

    Rusty made a few stops by the bath pan--he was down there at (PST times approximate) 4:41 (about 2 minutes), and again at 5:03, and possibly again at 5:10 - the last time, I couldn't tell who it was (seemed a bit lighter in color, and might have been Iris)--whoever it was flew to the nest.

    Iris is still doing a fair amount of flying and hanging on the wire by the food tray (4:44, 4:46, 5:01, and 5:17, all times approximate PST), but it seemed like she was flying less than yesterday morning.

    There was one very brief single hoot at 04:56 PST--almost sounded truncated, couldn't tell who it was.

    It'll definitely be interesting to see how things develop!

  2. And observations from this morning (05 Jan 2011):

    At 02:56 PST, Rusty flies down to the bath pan--not a big deal, but his approach seemed interesting--sort of a slow, almost hovering flight. Hunting behavior, perhaps? (Can you tell I don't know much about the lifestyle of Great Horned Owls?)

    At 04:04 PST a quiet hoot (maybe from outside? or is Iris, who is on log perch by the owl door?) is heard--sounds like a female in pitch, possibly a greeting hoot? It seems abbreviated (Hoo hoohoohoohoo)--Rusty answers from the log
    perch on the wall in his usual pattern, starting after the other owl's trilling hoot--couldn't quite tell if the other owl finished that hoot or if it was just that first part.

    At 04:09 PST, Rusty hoots in his usual pattern, although the last syllable seems a bit short (might've been just me, or maybe a datafeed hiccup, though). He hoots again 40 seconds later, and again 20 seconds after that, both times in his usual pattern.

    Iris is still doing a fair amount of flying, but not as much as the other morning. I also didn't notice her hanging on the wire today. A good sign, maybe?

  3. Morning observations for 06 Jan 2011:

    At 02:24 PST, there's a brief staccato hoot--couldn't quite tell who it was (maybe Rusty?).

    Other than that, nobody's said anything. Iris has been doing some flying and hanging on the wire by the food tray and on the wire by the log perch (I could hear her doing that on the other camera view but couldn't identify the sound until seeing her do it on camera). She was on the wire by the perch at 02:26, 02:29, 02:35, 04:29, 04:36, and 05:07, the wire by the food tray at 05:10, and back to the wire by the perch at 05:11 (all times PST). There were probably other occurrences, but those are the ones I caught.

    Maybe try poking some egg cartons or cardboard strips into those spots on the wire as a visual deterrent (or at least something to displace the hanging behavior)?

    Also, I was wondering about maybe introducing some low (5'-6', so they can still fly right over them) moveable T-bar perches (the kind done by sinking a 4x4 into a 5-gallon bucket of cement and attaching a crossbar at the top), maybe covered in Astroturf to provide a climbing surface? It'd provide a bit of a change of scenery and an additional activity (climbing), and they'd be easily removeable if they don't work out. Just speculating based on what little I know of raptors and raptor rehabilitation...

  4. The goofy hoot at 02:24 PST was Iris...she was hoarse (and I think frustrated from hanging on the wire.) I don't think the egg cartons would stick well in the chain link, but I might try hanging a bed sheet over the wire to let in light and air but block the view.

    The huge news is that RUSTY FED IRIS this morning!! Yea! I'll get the video posted tomorrow maybe....

  5. Wow! Sounds like they're moving forward from that awkward first date...

    A few notes from last night (07 Jan 2011):

    At 20:03 PST, Rusty hoots in his usual pattern. He hoots again at 20:04:11, 20:06:16, 20:13:35, and 20:13:53 (all times PST, the seconds might be a bit off from what you have on record.

    At 22:23 PST, a faint hoot is heard, possibly Iris? It didn't sound like their typical multisyllable hoots.

    And this morning, nobody hooted, but Iris did a fair amount of flying (from around 4:19 PST onwards), and there were a lot of wire clinging noises while she was off-camera. Also, it looked like someone was checking in from outside with a flashlight at around 4:40 PST - was that you?

    And at around 05:15 PST (at least that's when I noticed), someone was down on the floor by the cardboard box in the corner for a while. At 05:19, whoever it was flew to the log perch by the owl door, then to the high perch by the door. Was that Iris? Those seems to be her preferred perches.

    Looks like Rusty is ignoring the toys and the Not Really An Egg in the nest this morning, while Iris is off-camera somewhere. I've noticed that on the night cams, only his left eye glows--does he have a detached retina in his right eye from getting hit by the car? Just wondering.

    Looking forward to seeing what happens next!

  6. Yes, the owl on the floor was Iris. She seemed to be looking outside rather than showing true interest in the box, but it's only the second time I've seen her on the floor.

    For both Rusty and Iris, only their left eyes glow. I'm sure it has to do with their eye injuries. I don't have details on the specifics of their eyes, but yes, retina issues seem very likely.

    Keep the great observations coming!