Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Whooo Visited Alice?

A few evenings ago when Hein and I were sitting out in Alice's patio and she was ignoring us, sitting inside her room, I noticed that the screen on the outside of her patio frame looked loose.  I hoped it wasn't torn loose, so I walked over for a closer inspection.  I found holes and a tear in the screen, plus it was ripped loose from a couple of staples in the wood.  Apparently Alice had had a visitor!

We had three long evenings between work and programs that week, so it could have easily happened when we weren't home.  Or it could have happened when we were sleeping...we don't hear things so well on that end of the house even though our bedroom windows are open since our bedroom is on the opposite side of the house.

I tried to think what the possibilities were for the maker of the holes.  Of course my first thought was that an owl had stuck its talons though the screen.  I've seen talon holes in our screen from Alice, and these were similar.  Not in a perfect four-toe pattern like Alice's holes had been, but they certainly fit the shape and damage that a talon could inflict.

Since the holes were in the screen, there's no way Alice could have made them.  There's a plastic mesh on the inside of the cage, and a wooden frame separates the plastic from the screen by 3.5 inches.  Even Alice's talons couldn't do that.

Was there anything else that could have done it?  The patio is on the second floor of the house, so that rules out most things.  I don't think a raccoon or a cat could have climbed up there unless they could climb up a downspout.  Pretty unlikely, I would think.

Another woman who works with raptors had said that grasshoppers had chewed nice round holes in the screen on the outside of one of her cages.  But she had plastic screen and we have aluminum...I can't imagine that a grasshopper could do this kind of work even if it had been lifting weights and using steroids.  Plus the holes aren't all round...some are vertical tears.

So all I can think is that it was an owl visiting Alice.  The holes are in the corners where she likes to stand on the floor, so the location makes sense.  But the question then becomes was it a female trying to attack her (maybe Delilah?), or was it a male trying to woo her (maybe Rhett?)  We may never know unless it happens again.  Which it might.

Delilah and Victor seem to be a confirmed item now.  I've heard them hooting several times together in Victor's territory.  I think the vibrato hoots that Victor and Rusty have must be babe magnets....


  1. "As the owl turns" continues to keep the viewers interested and on their toes as to what will happen next.

    Thanks for sharing with us, Karla.

  2. This is amazing. You need an infrared hunter's cam that takes pictures only when something moves. I am sure you know all about those. Might be worth the investment!
    Thank you for telling us this story.
    M Russll

  3. A network camera would be ideal, since then it would save all the video and audio footage for several days for me to review. I'm thinking about purchasing a pan/tilt/zoom cam for Rusty & Iris' cage, so lots to think about.