03h30 Oh, it is just TOO early to be up at this time! For the first time this week, it wasn't the owls that woke me up. We're off to do a race in Pretoria. Quick head count on the balcony, and a 'hi' to all in the chat room, and off we went. Chicks are dozing. Pot Plant Owl is on the roof when we left.
Later on: The chicks' feathers have the Spotted Eagle Owl markings on them now. They still have a lot of fluff, but each day, the chicks are looking more like their parents. The biggest chick has almost grow all of its flight feathers on its wings. The false ear tufts look like little cotton balls on their heads. Pretty soon, the cotton balls will look like real ears, although they are not true ears at all.
I've had a lot of comments / praise about how well behaved the chicks are. They don't squabble amongst themselves; they don't grab food from each other (although they still 'fight' to be closest to the food source when a meal arrives), and they are gentle with one another. Is this unusual? No, not in our observations of Spotted Eagle Owl chicks for the past 3 years now. We've noticed that they are all quite 'well behaved' and appear to have real affection for one another. Look at the way they cuddle and sleep together, or preen each other. Simple care and affection, with no hidden agendas. We can learn a lot from their simple interaction - to be patient, wait your turn, know that you will receive in due course, to be tolerant, and not to be greedy (step aside when you've had your share so others can have too).
Later in the evening
A strong wind whipped up from nowhere. The yellow wood tree in the pot plant swayed furiously in the wind, while our three chicks stood motionless in the nest. The force of the wind caused many trees to bend and sway, and I would imagine forcing all garden birds to hang on tightly.
The chat room was abuzz with comments flying as the strength of the wind increased. "What can you do?" "Bring the chicks inside" "Where is PPO?" While panic levels were rising, Pot Plant Owl returned to the nest with food. She helped the chicks shred the food into smaller pieces, and then, like the good parent we know her to be, she remained on the lip of the pot with the chicks until the wind subsided. No damage was done and the chicks, for all intent and purposes, didn't appear the least bit fased by the whole event.
The rest of my viewing was much less eventful.