Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Rusty's still making moves on Iris

Although Iris likes to do boomerang flights and Rusty has to duck sometimes, he's still working on putting the moves on her. I caught him feeding her again on January 17 close to 11 PM Central time. Go Rusty!!

Another great thing that a couple of viewers have noticed: Rusty is doing some abbreviated hoots when he's near Iris. I think these are what I call "greeting hoots". They are lower pitched than regular hoots, and the last syllables are missing from his regular hoot.

Rusty approached Iris on two occasions and did a series of these greeting hoots. I think it must be the Great Horned Owl way for a male to sweet talk a girl. Sounds kinda sexy....

Things to watch for now:

-Rusty feeding Iris
-Rusty making grunting sounds (this usually means he's going to feed her)
-Iris making grunting sounds
-Rusty or Iris making hoots with fewer than the normal amount of syllables
-Either owl biting down in the nest and digging with their feet. Or on the floor or hide box. This is digging a "nest bowl" for a potential nest site.
-Rusty and Iris hooting back and forth to each other
-Either owl playing with or moving the toys in the nest basket (I saw Rusty fly in and pounce on the big ball once!)

And just for fun, if you're awake in the middle of the night, watch for the little critter that likes to run around on their food tray. I think it must be a shrew...they eat meat. And Rusty and Iris just ignore it. It's probably good to have a shrew doing cleanup duty on their feeding platform to help keep it clean.

Thanks, everyone, for your helpful observations!


  1. Hello Karla.

    Thank you for the updates on Alice, Iris & Rusty. Now I know my eyes are not seeing things when I have seen the small critter running around the food tray early mornings. It's a shrew.

    Do you know why the website has gone done the last few days? I'm referring to times separate from the Ustream and Internet Explorer. The last couple of days it has gone done after you left for work and has come back up after you got home and "fixed things."


  2. ,
    I heard abbreviated hooting last night and , with some flying in between, they moved closer together on the far ledge. Rusty flew down and sat by the water for a bit while Iris sat on the ledge. He flew to the near roost several times. I like to think he was showing her what a great territory he has, with an abundance of food and water. Maybe love is really in the air. All this occurred between 11 pm and 12:40 am. MapleOwl,

  3. It's Saturday night and I have spent a lot of time watching Rusty, hearing Iris fly, and listening to a wild variety of sound - a few loud hoots from Rusty, a lot of loud banging off camera ( was Iris tap dancing), a screeching sound from somewhere, cows mooing, and coyotes howling ( ?). Also the sound of a far away owl ( probably Alice?). It was lovely but frustrating because, except for a wing tip going by , I never saw Iris ( that's assuming the owl that sat there was Rusty). Sometimes Rusty seemed quite agitated as he watched things appear and disappear ( probably Iris). So all in all not much to report. I did learn that owls are very noisy eaters and, in an enclosed space, not such quiet flyers. Looking forward to seeing the long view again next week. Thanks for a Saturday evening in the woods. Maple Owl

  4. Just wanted to add a P.S. Just tuned in in time to hear loud wingbeats and high pitched squeals just off right of the picture. Mean anything? Maple Owl

  5. Yes, although we're out in the middle of nowhere, there are still plenty of interesting sounds here! I have no idea what the banging was. We went out to check on it because we heard it too. I saw what i think were coyote tracks by the cages, but I'm not sure how it would have made those sounds.

    I think I may just keep the long view up on Ustream most of the time since Cornell is sticking with the nest view, so at any time you can see either one if you switch between sites.

    The high pitched squeals you hear are annoyed chitters...usually when one owl is doing something the other one doesn't like.