Monday, October 08, 2012

The Cam and the Door

Alice has been using her pet door to get between her room and her outdoor patio since June.  But we left the plastic flap off so she'd get used to going in and out.  It's finally too cold and we put the plastic flap on.  Would Alice push her way through?

I figured she would since she used to push open doors that weren't latched.  To make it a little easier for her we stuck a partial egg carton in the flap to prop it open.  Without a whole lot of urging she pushed her way through! But would she figure out how to come back in again?

We've used egg cartons to prop it a bit yesterday and today, and she seems to be able to do that all right.    We'll see if she manages to go in and out without propping in the next days.

The super exciting news is that we installed a new pan/tilt/zoom (PTZ) cam in the breeding cage.  Woo-hoo!  Our technological genius extraordinaire Alan Stankevitz came over yesterday to do the install (he always volunteers his time...THANKS!!!!)  Hein had previously removed a section of ceiling boards and had run an internet cable and an extension cord in the ceiling.  Ace Communications Group, our local phone company, terminated the cabled (that sounds nasty, but it means the put the jacks on the ends), as they've done for free for us since the beginning.  Hein also had mounted a 2x6 on a truss where we planned to attached the arm of the camera so only the camera dome protruded into the cage itself.

The cam itself is a little bigger than an ostrich egg and quite heavy.  We did the first work inside, then went outside and shut the door between the cages while we worked.

We opened the big eight foot door to make it easy to carry ladders in and out.  Hein first unscrewed the ceiling boards.  Then I crawled up into the ceiling to help hold the precious cam (all $2,000 worth of it!) while Alan mounted it.  Then it was up to Alan to mess with all the cables and cords to get them running.

All went really well except the microphone.  Turns out it needed a stereo jack and was really fussing about cutting in and out, but after an hour or more Alan got it safely tucked away in its junction box and it's been working fine since then.

The great thing is the VIEWS we get with this cam!  Holy moly!  That evening I could zoom in on Iris' face...just her face, while she dozed.  Not only is it beautiful to see, but it will help me check Rusty and Iris' beaks, talons, feet, and eyes for any problems without having to catch them out.  Very nice.

Critterwatcher and maxi23, my chat room moderators, are able to control the PTZ functions as well as me, so that's good to have help keeping it on the owls.

In the future I hope we can raise another $2,000 for another PTZ cam to go in the flight cage.

This is fun!!!  (Oh, and educational too.....)


  1. This is very good news on the new camera. I hope to be seeing some awesome views of both Iris and Rusty..

  2. Read an article on the first documented case where the Mom bird talking to her eggs, and where the chicks hear/learn from it.

  3. Hi Karla, just saw Rusty on Iris's back, mating?? Lots of hooting then her flew onto her. It was amazing. Just wanted to report in. Love that!!

    1. Yep, that's mating for you! Not pretty, but it must work. Lots of associated vocalizations.