SNN (ScrollingNetworkNews) ✿ ✿ Our Mel and Sydney returned to their nesting box with plenty of bonding occurring..but after 2.5 months of Sydney in the box from Dec 2013 to mid Feb 2014, the lack of prey gifts from Mel ( perhaps due to the severe and historic drought underway in California)and they have forgone the nesting process this year as many other raptors ✿ Compared to other owls of similar size, the Barn Owl has a much higher metabolic rate, requiring relatively more food. Pound for pound, Barn Owls consume more rodents – often regarded as pests by humans – than possibly any other creature. ✿ We remind viewers that sometimes owlets may not survive - the parents will dispose of things in "The Owl Way" -viewer discretion is advised, this is nature and the "Owl way". ✿ ~ ✿ “Animals, like us, are living souls. They are not things. They are not objects. Neither are they human. Yet they mourn. They love. They dance. They suffer. They know the peaks and chasms of being.” ― Gary Kowalski, The Souls of Animals ✿ Each species is a masterpiece, a creation assembled with extreme care and genius." ~ E.O. Wilson

Monday, June 3, 2013

Note from Kanga

Dear Owlie Fans, Here is an update on things concerning our beloved clutch #3 at Owlceanside.

 Together with our raptor rehab expert Eagle_Eye, we have made preparations to provide the owlets with what we regard as the best chance of successful fledging and survival possible.

 At this stage, the owlets are almost ready to venture out of the box for the first time. They are already exhibiting their natural instincts for pouncing and playful enactment of skills necessary to hunt in the wild, together with healthy "flapercizing" and other wing toning antics with which they will soon discover their perching balance and that they can even overcome gravity!

Absent continued and sufficient food deliveries from the parents, we will continue to supplement treats in close consultation with our licensed expert to ensure healthy development and sufficient nourishment (including all the water they need that's contained in the rodents consumed). The babies must learn to hunt and kill by recognizing live prey as food. To this end, we have devised a program that will give the owlets the best chance of survival in the wild with no human contact. They are healthy and strong and sufficiently developed so as not to require any hands-on intervention, protection and warmth from the elements, or nurse-feeding such as in the case of very young babies who cannot fend for themselves. Options related to "rescue" are inappropriate for a number of other reasons as well - these owls have the safety and protection of their box, they are in a territory that still has pre-claim by the parents (few other competing raptors), and the lesson plans that we have devised may provide the owls with the best chance of successful survival.

We think that these plans far outweigh the option and trauma of being captured, bundled off to unfamiliar surrounds, placed in a large flight cage with only dead rodents being offered, no chance of a parent still able to show up (screeches are now heard overnight and one delivery was made by a parent on Friday), and then being let free out the door to be shooed off into a territory likely to contain other and older released owls - chances for success could be slim.

You may have noticed the new "feeding box" recently erected under the playground. This will serve to teach the owls some vital survival lessons. They are expected to venture out of the owl box any day now. Assuming parent deliveries are less than adequate, the owls will learn that coming outside is where they will discover their supplemental treats - first on the porch and playground (PG). The new feeding box project has been placed immediately under the playground, and once they get used to finding food on the PG platforms, the owls will need to jump down onto the rim of the feeding box (curved wood top frame for easy perching), or jump directly down into the box, to find their food. The next step is to present live rodents - mouse-sized at first until the owls learn to kill efficiently, else we run the risk of something larger like a rat possibly inflicting a leg bite. The feeding box has a yellow colored band around the inside at the top - this is a "jump deflector" (patent pending - lol), which serves as an overhanging eave to prevent live prey from performing a lucky super jump to claw-cling onto the top wooden frame and make good their escape. If they climb on each others' shoulders, then they've earned their freedom! (•‿•)

 The next stage will be to present dark colored rodents, more representative of the prey found in the wild. As the owls become adept at these skills, the feeding box will be lowered a few rungs on the ladder so that they will need to fly down to it. They don't get their graduation certificate until they are able to hunt food that is hidden from direct sight (cammo rodents in amongst grass and other hiding places in the feeding box), using their keen hearing skills to locate prey rather than by sight alone.

Time and patience is obviously needed but we're willing to see this through! Be prepared is what they say, so we're planning for whatever is needed - but best scenario of course is that Mel and Sydney are able to resume their duties and teach these lessons to their babies, so let's see what happens and know that the best will be done under the circumstances that prevail.