Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Two Eggs for Iris!

We've all been watching and waiting for a glimpse of the egg or eggs that Iris is sitting on. The first egg was laid on January 21, and we only have gotten partial views of it since Rusty dug the nest bowl so deep. I thought she would likely lay a second egg, but all we've gotten are grainy night-vision views when she takes her short breaks.

Today a cat decided to try to find a way into the cage to get at Rusty and Iris' food. In the video you see the cat start out right by the food tray and walk along the wall, with Rusty looking down and watching from six feet above.

But when the cat hopped down and walked around the back side of the cage, closer to the nest, Iris couldn't stand it. She bolted off the nest, clearly revealing two eggs. Thankfully she didn't seem to damage the eggs when she bolted.

So YEA! We now know there are two eggs under Iris. But hopefully the cat will go away and not scare and bother her anymore. Another good reason for people to keep cats indoors....


  1. great video Karla. I hope cat doesn't come back either. Critterwatcher

  2. What a great video. The eggs had a bit of a tumble. They looked okay, I thought. If one had been damaged, Iris probably would have pushed it aside wouldn't she?

  3. Thanks Karla, for finding the black least I know I'm not totally crazy and seeing things! And now we got a great view of both eggs too. Just keeps getting better.

  4. SO glad that both Iris and Alice are sitting on two eggs each!! Do you think Iris and Rusty will have a third egg? The camera angles this year are great!!

  5. Karla, Please review the tapes for 1:30am nest time 1/26 the cat returned. I saw two glowing eyes. Made Iris, Rusty concerned. onecraftyone

  6. I don't think we'll get a third egg at this point, but never say never when wildlife is concerned! Yes, one, the cat was back at 1:30 AM and scared Rusty this time.

  7. Great news! Was wondering about a second egg. I'd imagine that the eggs are probably tougher than they look, so the odd bit of rolling and knocking is no worse than what would happen in any owl nest--I've seen barn owls (on webcams) knock their eggs pretty hard with no ill effects.

    Agreed that cats should stay indoors (for their own safety as well as that of wildlife). You might want to try sprinkling some hot pepper sauce around the outside of the enclosure as a deterrent--most cats dislike capsaicin. Not sure if it would affect Rusty and Iris, though, so perhaps someone more knowledgable should be consulted first.

    (And perhaps for future nestings, maybe a small overhead cam over the nest bowl? There's an owl box in northern California that uses small USB spycams with the IR filter removed--just a thought.)

  8. 10:42 mandozee1888: 10;43AM cam time Iris left the next.

    10:43 mandozee1888: shes on the pirch with Rusty

    11:49 mandozee1888: she went back checked the nest and went back to the pirch with rusty

    11:50 mandozee1888: she's checking the nest again decided to stay settleing down again

  9. Wonderful news! Congratulations to all involved, especially you, Karla! Another dream come true!!

    Best wishes, Annie (in Toronto) 12-01-26

  10. Mandozee, I think it was a cat that scared her off at 10:42, and again about noon. It looks like I'm going to have to figure out something to do about the cat.

  11. Morning--

    Iris just took her bathroom break, leaving the nest for the log perch at 08:47 PST and returning at 08:53. While she was off, Rusty went to the nest from 08:51 to 08:53, but stayed just outside the nestcam range (apart from the occasional wing flutter just at the right side of the frame). This time, Rusty left the log perch to the opposite perch at 08:45 right before Iris headed over there, and when he left the nest he went back to the opposite perch and not the log perch where Iris was. He went back to the log perch after Iris settled down in the nest. Not sure if this is significant, but there it is. Can't tell if anyone hooted at all during this (I'm at work (shhh), no audio).

    Just wondering--have you noted any appreciable differences between Iris' and Alice's nesting behavior, given their different backgrounds and living situations? Just curious.


  12. Thanks for the observations screwball! I'm especially interested in when she takes breaks, how long she's off the nest, and when she eats.

  13. 1/28/2012 iris off the nest b4 753am. she flew to the far perch then into the flight pen. rusty followed her there. nest is to deep to see the eggs. onecraftyone

  14. Hi--

    Just to follow up on onecraftyone's comment--Iris was back at the nest at 05:02 PST. It seems a bit unusual for both of them to be out of visual range of the nest. Not sure if she ate while she was off, although she did go down to the food tray briefly.

    Just wondering (again)--you've noted previously that Alice only takes 7-minute breaks off her nest, but Iris has been taking longer breaks, with Rusty usually watching and occasionally going to the nest in her absence. Would Alice take longer breaks if you were nearby, since she considers you her mate?

  15. I reviewed the video, and Iris flew down to the food tray, got a piece of food, but just cached it in the hatch and didn't eat.

    I'm not sure if Alice would take longer breaks if I just stayed with her the whole time, or by the nest. Maybe I'm not as good of a Mr. Mom as Rusty so Alice doesn't trust me as much....

  16. 18:07 rusty brought Iris food and she went to the far end pirch to eat it.


  17. 18:17 she's back on the nest after sitting on the pirch wile rusty was at the food tray. Hope this helps.


  18. Iris burbled briefly at 19:58 PST, with Rusty hooting in response. Not sure what started that exchange.

  19. Iris did some more burbling again at around 21:04 PST, with Rusty hooting in response from somewhere off camera. Rusty went back to the log perch from wherever he was at 21:08 PST. As of 21:11 PST, Rusty is facing the nest and hooting intermittently, and Iris is in the nest with her eyes closed.

  20. Another vocal exchange starting around 14:25 PST today, with Iris clucking and Rusty hooting intermittently from the left side perch in response. Iris hooted once in the middle of the exchange. Not quite sure who got the last word in, as Iris' clucking volume tended to vary a fair bit.

  21. Iris just took her breakfast (dinner?) break--tuned in at 04:54 PST and she was on the far perch with Rusty--he was grunting and hooting, she was hooting back. She went down to the food tray, then back up to the far perch. Rusty promptly flew to the side perch (the one across from the food tray), while Iris stayed on the far perch to eat. She returned to the nest at 05:01 PST. Rusty was hooting intermittently the whole time; Iris seemed to stop hooting when she went to the food tray.

  22. And Rusty just visited Iris at the nest at 05:29 PST. He hooted (softer than usual); she burbled in response. Didn't look like there was a food delivery involved. He was there less than a minute and left for the side perch (which is what I'm calling the one opposite the food tray, as opposed to the log perch, which is the one on the same wall as the food tray).

  23. Some interesting (to me, anyway) vocal exchanges this afternoon/evening. At around 15:38 PST, Iris was in the nest burbling, with Rusty hooting back from somewhere off-camera. Iris mixed in a few hoots, but by 15:42 had pretty much quieted down. Rusty eventually landed on the log perch and turned to face the nest, hooting intermittently for a bit longer.

    Rusty has also come to the nest a few times, landing on the edge of the platform area but not going down to Iris and the nest bowl. hooting at a lower volume than usual, at 16:16 PST, 16:24 PST, and again at 18:07 PST. All three times he stayed for about a minute, then went back to the log perch, where he landed and turned around to face the nest. Iris responded during the 18:07 visit with a few clucks, but she didn't budge from the nest bowl.

    Not sure if this is useful information, but there it is...

  24. Notes from this morning:

    There was a brief vocal exchange, less than a minute, at around 03:04 PST with Rusty hooting and Iris clucking in response.

    At around 03:40 PST, Rusty hooted in a pattern I haven't heard from him before--the trilling portion was a bit shorter, and the second-to-last syllable was doubled (if that makes any sense). I didn't hear a response from Iris.

    At around 04:38 PST, Rusty to flew to the nest, hooting, with Iris clucking . hooting (him) and clucking and bouncing in response. Sometime between then and 04:43 PST, Iris left the nest and went to the food tray, with Rusty hooting on the log perch and alternately watching her and the nest. Iris went to the far perch at 04:44 with Rusty hooting and watching her, Rusty then flew to the floor below Iris' perch, still watching her, then returned to the log perch at about 04:45 with a food item, which he didn't eat immediately.

    At 04:46:50 PST, both were off-camera (didn't see where they went, sorry). At 04:49, someone was on the side perch, and at 04:50, the side perch was empty and Iris was back at the nest. This time, she landed on the platform edge and walked straight into the nest bowl. As of right now (04:57 PST), Rusty is still off-camera.

    Hope this helps.

  25. Screwball, great catch on the 5:40 CST vocalizations from Rusty...some emphatic hoots with a squawk. The squawks are the hardest thing for me to understand and they are so rarely given that each new one recorded is a great help.

  26. Iris just took her dinner break--Rusty brought food to the nest at 17:07 PST and hooted; Iris clucked back, and Rusty walked down into the nest bowl and passed the food to her. He flew to log the perch at 17:08, and Iris left the nest with her food and went to the far perch to eat. Rusty stayed on the log perch watching the nest at first, then turned to watch Iris.

    At 17:13 PST, Iris returned to the nest platform, walked to the nest bowl but didn't go in, inspected the nest bowl, looked around, walked down into the nest bowl at 17:16, and promptly flew to the side perch at 17:17. She later flew to the log perch, while Rusty went to the side perch (didn't catch exact time). At 17:19 PST, Iris returned to the nesting platform, inspected the nest bowl, and finally settled down in the nest, with Rusty watching and hooting intermittently. After she settled down, Rusty returned to the log perch, where he is now, looking around but not saying anything.

    So that's a squak--I wondered what those would sound like! btw, are you still having problem with the video conversion? I found a utility called "Free Video Converter" that might be useful to you, if you haven't tried it already.

  27. I was lucky enough to see this last food exchange live! I'm using Pinnacle video software to make the conversion now, but thanks!

  28. Notes from today (01 Feb 2012):

    Not sure when the cameras came on (04:58 PST?), but when they did, Iris was off the nest, and both Rusty and Iris were off-camera. At 04:59 PST, Iris was at the food tray; she then went to the far perch with the food, with Rusty hooting from somewhere off-camera. Iris went to the side perch after eating and returned to the nest at 05:02 PST; she dug around a bit in the nest bowl before settling down.

    At 16:43 PST, Rusty was at the nest, hooting. He stayed about two minutes, then flew to the log perch. Didn't notice a response from Iris that time.

    At 18:42 PST, Rusty started hooting, and Iris started clucking in response. This exchange lasted for under a minute.

    At 19:40 PST, Rusty went to nest with food. Iris clucked first, then Rusty responded with a quiet, hoarse-sounding hoot after passing the food to her. He stayed at the nest bowl, hooted again, looked around, and then went to the log perch. Iris then went to the far perch with her food at 19:41 (she didn't put the food down before leaving the nest--had it in her beak). Rusty hooted some more, looked at her, then looked back at the nest, then got busy with something on the perch.

    At 19:47 PST, - Rusty went to the middle of the far perch, not near Iris (at right end of perch), and turned to face the direction of the nest. Iris was still eating, also facing the nest.

    At 19:55 PST, Iris arrived back at the nest and went straight into nest bowl. Rusty stayed on the far perch, hooting intermittently. He's now on the log perch, still hooting intermittently, watching the nest and occasionally looking around (outside?).

    Hope this is helpful, or at least somewhat entertaining.

    Just wondering--Iris seems to have preferred places for eating (right side of far perch) and defecating (log perch), but does she have a preferred place for casting pellets? I haven't caught her in the act on that front.

  29. Using time stamp on cam I started watching around 4:25 and bird off nest hooted from time to time until 6:03. He did a "stereo" hoot at 4:41, 5:07,5:20. As a birdwatcher/listener I always thought this was two birds talking rather than one bird. Not sure which bird but there was clacking at 4:44. Around 4:54 there were outside noises that sounded like another owl, rosters crowing and dogs barking that got both owls attention and nest bird seemed to roll eggs around 4:55. Both owls hooting at 6:04. Creepy coyote howls at 5:43 which didn't seem to bother the owls.

  30. Notes from today (02 Feb 2012):

    At 04:04 PST, Rusty hooted, and Iris hooted an then clucked in response.

    At 04:57 PST, Rusty had been on the log perch hooting intermittently, and Iris began clucking and hooting in response to Rusty. Rusty then flew in the direction of the nestcam to somewhere off-camera.

    At 05:15 PST, Iris flew from the nest to the far perch, apparently with food.

    At 05:18 PST, Rusty was at the nest (unsure of exact arrival time), watching Iris eat on the far perch. At 05:19 PST, Rusty flew to the center of the far perch; Iris stayed on the end, still eating. At 05:20 PST, Iris flew to the log perch with her food, while Rusty stayed on the far perch.

    At 05:24 PST (unsure of exact time--video feed skipped), Iris returned to the nest, landed on the platform edge, looked around, then walked down
    into nest bowl and rummaged around briefly before settling in.

    At 16:26 PST, Rusty went to the food tray. Iris was still in the nest. Rusty was back at the log perch sometime before 16:29 PST. At 16:30 PST, Rusty flew to the nest and passed Iris a food item, hooting very quietly after the handoff. I didn't hear a response from her (might have been too quiet). At 16:31 PST, Rusty went to the log perch while Iris stayed in the nest and laid the food down in front of her. Less than a minute later, Iris picked up the food and went to the far perch, with Rusty watching the nest from the log perch.

    At 16:35 PST, Iris was off-camera (apparently in the flight cage), with Rusty on the log perch head-bobbing in the direction of the flight cage door. He then went to the middle of the far perch, looking into flight cage, then through the door into the flight cage. Some quiet hooting was heard, Rusty first, then Iris answering. Hooting continued intermittently for an extended period.

    At 16:44 PST, Iris was back at the nest (video feed stuttered again, so no timestamp). She went straight into the nest bowl. Rusty was still off-camera, presumably in in the flight cage; as of right now (17:46 PST), he remains off-camera, and Iris appears to be asleep on the nest.

  31. Helpful notes! Alice does sure seem to do most of her eating on the right side of the hatch perch. I've seen her throw up pellets a couple of times on the side perch in the flight cage.

  32. Notes from today (03 Feb 2012):

    At 05:01 PST, Iris clucks in response to Rusty, who had been hooting intermittently on the log perch.

    At 05:08 PST, Iris left the nest for the far perch. Rusty stayed on log perch, hooting and alternately watching the nest and Iris.

    At 05:11 PST, Iris was on log perch with Rusty, both facing the nest (not sure when she arrived). It looked like Iris might have had food. She went back to the far perch at 05:12 PST, while Rusty stayed on the log perch, hooting intermittently. Sometime between 05:12 PST and 05:17 PST, Iris returned to the nest (didn't catch arrival, sorry).

    I tuned in again at around 17:29 PST. Iris was not in the nest, and Rusty was on the edge of the nest platform. At 17:30 PST, he walked onto the nest platform, head-bobbing at the nest. He walked into and out of the nest bowl at around 17:33 PST and began hooting quietly, with Iris responding from somewhere off-camera. Rusty then left the nest and continued hooting, and Iris continued answering. Iris returned to the nest at 17:34:46 PST, landing on the platform edge and then walking very carefully into nest bowl, Rusty hooting intermittently all the while.

    At 18:56 PST, Rusty arrived at the nest platform with food, which he presented to Iris while grunting. Iris cluck back in response. Rusty hooted quietly after the handoff, then left the nest for the log perch. Iris, who was facing the access hatch, then apparently started eating(!)--her head movements looked like feeding behavior, anyway. Rusty did something that might have been eating or might have been rubbing his beak on the log perch (couldn't tell, but his face was down by his feet), then turned back around to face the nest. Iris was still facing the access hatch, but she turned her head briefly to face the camera, and there was clearly something hanging out of her beak.

    At around 18:58:39 PST, Rusty hooted, and Iris turned her head to face the camera briefly, then looked around, finally started to get up at 18:59:36, rummaged in nest, then then settled back down, looked at the camera briefly, then wiggled back down into nest. Rusty hooted intermittently, still facing the nest. As of right now (19:17 PST), Rusty is on the log perch facing the nest, and Iris is in the nest, head turned towards the camera, with her eyes closed.

    Hope this helps!

  33. Follow-up to that last post--I just checked the weather in Houston, MN, and it's 24 degrees Fahrenheit. Might this have something to do with Iris eating in tonight? Just wondering...

  34. Some interesting outside noises just now, starting a little before 07:00 PST and have pretty much stopped at this point (07:12 PST). It was a loud, repetitive call, possibly a bird (based on tone range and pattern). Iris definitely noticed it (eyes open, head up), but didn't seem to think much of it (never got up, eventually just closed her eyes and settled back down again). And now the call has started back up again (07:13 PST). It looks like you have a squirrel in the cage, btw--it's making its way along the wall above the food tray right now. Rusty is watching it, but not going after it. Iris' eyes are open a slit, it seems.

  35. Must have been about noon-ish MST and there were two squirrels in the cage and one looking in the back window area. Rusty flew past the camera area and you heard him crash into the wall, heard lots of wing flapping (don't know if Iris entered into the melee or not). Then all you could hear was the squirrel screaming. I had to leave to do an errand in town, but would presume they had squirrel for lunch! The other squirrel that was in the cage ran to the back left area of the cage, climbed up the side wall and got out. From Donna in SD