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....

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Iris Laid an Egg!

Break out the cigars because Iris laid an egg! This is the first egg she has laid in captivity, and Rusty wanted to see the egg for himself. In this video clip Iris has just left the nest to take a break, and the top of the egg is just barely visible in the nest bowl. Rusty flies over to check out the egg, and looks for the world like he's going to sit on it himself.

Iris apparently doesn't think this is a good idea, so she flies immediately back to the nest and seems to politely talk Rusty into getting off the nest and letting her sit on the egg.

Interestingly, Alice really doesn't like it if I check out her egg while she's off her nest either.

Hopefully Iris will lay a second egg. She took a 24 minute break this morning to sit next to Rusty while he ate, then he fed her his leftovers, which she took and ate before returning to the nest.

If all goes well we should have little owlets during our International Festival of Owls!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Owl Chatters Coming to the International Festival of Owls

Rusty and Iris have been snuggling up together lately, and Iris is losing belly feathers. All looks good for breeding!

Several of the Rusty and Iris cam watchers (and other cam watchers) are planning to attend the 10th Annual International Festival of Owls in Houston, Minnesota March 2-4, 2012. They'll get a chance to meet Tracy Eccles, host of the Pot Plant Owl cam in South Africa, and Carlos and Donna Royal, hosts of the Molly & McGee Barn Owl cam from San Marcos, California, among other great guests like Denver Holt of the Owl Research Institute in Montana and Prof. Dr. Michael Wink, owl DNA geneticist extraordinaire.

I know many chatters would like to know which other chatters are coming to the Festival. So feel free to leave a comment here with your chat name (not email) and also on the Festival's Facebook page. Then head over to a page with Rusty and Iris's chat on it, log in, find the other chatters coming, and send them a PM (personal message).

As of this writing I know of folks coming from California, Oklahoma, Indiana, and Wisconsin.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Alice Lays Her Egg for 2012

Alice has been acting "eggy" since Thursday. My first clue was that she didn't eat anything Wednesday night. The second clue was that she was in her nest basket when it was time to leave to do a program and she flat out refused to get out of the nest. She stepped over my hand a bunch of times, bit me A LOT, and just simply wouldn't cooperate. She's acted this way before when close to egg laying, and when I made her go to work anyway she was absolutely miserable, not sleeping, standing on both feet all day, trying to jump off her perch, and all but running to her nest when we got home.

She didn't eat Thursday night. She didn't eat Friday night either, and as Hein said, she was hooting differently. It was more subdued and quiet, and she was sitting with her back arched slightly. About 1 AM on Saturday I heard her jump up to her nest basket. She never goes to her nest basket at night...she's too busy looking out the windows. So I expected an egg to arrive at any time.

She was sitting in her nest when I got up in the morning. I reached a hand under her to check for an egg, but didn't find one...I just got bitten. She wasn't flat out in incubation posture...she was more in a squatty I wasn't expecting to see one.

I checked again when I got home from work. She kind of looked miserable and squatty, and again bit me good an proper when I felt for an egg.

When she doesn't eat she needs to drink water, and I hadn't noticed her drinking, so I offered her a drink from a squirt bottle. She wasn't interested. So I just left her alone.

When I went to bed at about 10 PM she was down flat, and yes, there was an egg! I'm curious to see if she'll lay a second egg. She has yet to lay two eggs in one year. But the interesting thing about her egg laying this year is that she never allowed me to "copulate" with her by putting my hand on her back, which is something she's wanted in past years. Guess she doesn't need me to help her make an egg....