Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Getting Ready for Eggs

Alice squatting in her nest basket in her room.

It's time to be thinking about eggs for Great Horned Owls.  Alice typically lays eggs somewhere around this date, so I'm watching for signs she's getting ready to lay.

She needs to develop a brood patch, so lots of fluffy belly feathers need to fall out.  Last year she didn't loose many before laying her first egg, but then they just fell out like crazy.  So far I've just seen a few in her room...probably not more than three.  Iris has also lost just a few tummy feathers too.

Another sign egg laying is imminent is that she stops eating.  Apparently there isn't room for an egg along with food in the abdomen, so they don't eat for a couple of days or so before laying.  Alice ate last night, so we aren't quite there yet.

The final sign is that she stays very close to her nest. She's been spending less time outside at night and sleeping either on the side of her nest or in her hide box right next to her nest.

Tonight when I came home from work Alice was squatting in her nest, talons tucked under her toes.  (See photo above.)  Eggs should be coming within a week I would guess.

It's nice to see Iris sleeping next to the nest every night after supper.  Rusty always looks like he'd make a great Mom, digging in the nest and sitting in it too.  He's been bringing Iris lots of food to fatten her up.

Alice is officially on maternity leave now, and probably won't be back to work until the International Festival of Owls March 1-3, 2013.

It'll be egg-citing to see who lays when, and how many eggs each will lay.  Stay tuned!


  1. I'm excited about Alice and Iris, can't wait to see who lays eggs first.Thanks for the update on Alice and the great pic of her. Critterwatcher