Friday, November 01, 2013
From Baby to Teen to Adult Hoots!
Patrick has finally gotten his hoot! The girls both were doing full-blown adult territorial hoots before Patrick, but he has finally caught up with his sisters. All owlets were doing "emphatic hoots" (hoots with extra notes in them that indicated they are not happy campers) before they did their real territorial hoots.
Now that they have gotten their hoots and have practiced on rats, they are ready to meet the world. I hope to get their transmitters put onto their tail feathers this weekend, then give them a few days in their flight pen to make sure everything is working well, then I'll open the door to the big, wide world outside. And I'll be crossing my fingers that Victor takes a liking to one of the girls so we have one that stays very close by.
Once I've opened the door to the wild, I'll still provide dead gopher in their flight pen so they can come back and mooch until they are self-sufficient hunters. This is called a "soft release" or a "soft hack."
We'll be able to track the owlets using VHF transmitters. This isn't like satellite transmitters (which are very expensive) that just transmit locations that you can download every day. These transmitters require human beings to go out with a receiver and pin down the owls' locations by the beeping. Thankfully we have one person willing to help us with this task. We need to track them for a year to see where they settle and how they fare.
I'll let you know as we pin down dates for putting on the transmitters and for release, but it will be SOON!"