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


Feathers are essential. Without a working set of feathers, a bird can't fly.
It cant find food, escape enemies, or stay warm and dry. Preening keeps feathers in good condition. No wonder owls, like all birds, spend hours each day preening.
Two main activities are involved in preening: a simple stroking motion of the beak, to smooth the feather surface, and a nibbling action, where the bird moves its beak along the length of each feather from base to tip.
Preening is good for feathers in several ways-it puts disarranged feathers back in the proper place and configurations. Feathers are made up of thousands of smaller strands that hook together with tiny barbs. If strands get unhooked during the day’s activities preening zips them back together. Owls that are preening often shake and stretch their wings, which also helps arrange their feathers.
Owls may preen with their talons as well as their beaks. In fact, the barn owl has a special comblike talon that is used just for preening. Because and owl can't preen its own head with its beak, it uses its talons to groom this area, or it may solicit help from another owl.
Mutual preening is a very common owl activity. The behavior seems to make owls less aggressive toward one another. Courting owls strengthen their pair-bond by preening each other. Parents and their chicks also engage in mutual preening.