Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Alice Gets a Break

Alice has proven herself as a good incubator. She laid her egg on January 17 and has dutifully incubated it, staring at the wall for hours on end. OK, sometimes she watched out the window too, but jeepers, sitting in the same spot for 32-34 days is BORING no matter how you cut it. Especially if you only have 1-2 seven minute breaks a day.

The end of her 34 days would have been this past Saturday. But she kept sitting. I wanted to give her a few days extra to see if she'd just stop incubating. She was still going strong today, so I decided to take her egg away to give her a break. And get her ready to leave the house for the International Festival of Owls March 4-6.

When she took her evening break at 6 PM tonight I snuck into her room and removed her warm egg from the nest. I tucked it into my pocket so she didn't see I had it when I walked past her. When done with her break she settled back onto the nest like nothing had changed, same as she did last year when I took her egg away.

We let the egg cool before blowing it. OK, so Hein blew it...I didn't. He used to have an egg collection as a kid, so he's a pro at this. Her egg weighed 55.3g, and displaced about 55 ml of water. It also floated, showing it was no good anymore. That being said it didn't stink at all when Hein blew it. Weird...it's been at about 104 F for about 37 days, floated, and didn't stink!

Alice has already gotten off her nest a few times since we removed the egg, then she gets back on. If it goes like last year, within a couple of days she'll be entirely done with her nest and happy to have her freedom again.


  1. Karla!! You nest-robber you!! :-D

    I know we discussed this before at the Nature Center, that Alice would not be allowed to have a fertilized egg of her own, as she is cared for by you under a license for an education owl, but this seems a good place to discuss a follow-up question. If a fertile egg from another owl, perhaps some accidental tree downing, or something like that, could that be placed under Alice to see if she would foster it?

    Just curious!


  2. I'm sure you were watching but just in case...I was just watching Iris and Rusty and listening to the crows mobbing Victor - I thought. Suddenly Rusty was on high alert and flew to the nest, got in the nest hole, and started making frantic hoots and grunts. He was being very aggressive. Right before this, I had heard a loud noise like a metal pail dropping. One of the other watchers reported that she saw a crow in the enclosure. If that's true, there must be a hole somewhere. Thought you should know. MapleOwl P.S. This was about 4pm EST

  3. I am so sorry, Karla. The crow in the nest was in Colorado! Kind of funny except for the fact I might have scared you. The crows here were outside. Thank goodness. The rest of the description is true though. MapleOwl

  4. Ladyhawker, if Alice hatches out an owlet, I'm not sure she'd be a good Mom. And even if she was, she'd need to spend a couple of months raising it and not doing programs..during the busiest program time of the year. So no fertile eggs for Alice....

  5. Ah . . . well . . . not all of us are meant to be mothers! Like me! I don't think I'd know what to do with a baby either! Enjoy Owl-Fest!! I wish I could come . . . but I am working the entire weekend.