Thursday, October 27, 2011

Day 24 and look what happened 4 years ago...

I thought I'd share with you an extract from our book "Pot Plant Owl". This was written when those chicks were 24 days old, four years ago:

'Today marks another milestone in the chicks' developments. While sitting at the hide we watch Pot Plant Owl silently flying in with a 'live catch': a squirming cricket.

She lands on the lip of the pot, and drops the wriggling insect at the chicks' feet. The chicks stare down at it, and then look up to their mother as if to say 'Now what?' Pot Plant Owl departs, leaving the chicks to figure out what to do, and the fun begins.

Confusion is etched on the chicks' faces for, despite the familiarity of the shape and colour, this piece of food is crawling around. Curiosity gets the better of them and they start playing a game of 'Catch' with the cricket.

The frightened cricket scrambles for its life, as the chicks pounce towards it, trying to grab it. When one chick manages to close a beak over the cricket, the insect wriggles furiously and the chick quickly lets go. The same thing happens when the second chick accidentally catches the cricket.

By now, tears of laughter are streaming down our faces - the chicks just don't have a clue.

By the time Pot Plant Owl returns, the chicks have tired of their game and are sitting together begging for food. One very lucky cricket defied death, escaping to the back of the pot and down the side.

We think Pot Plant Owl is teaching her chicks how to recognise food sources. But it looks like she's going to have to give this lesson another go before the chicks get it right.'


  1. I notice that at least one of the crickets PPO brought in yesterday was still alive and the babies refused to take it from her. In the end she had to eat it herself.

  2. i had no idea owls ate crickets - guess i have more to learn about owls than i realized!

  3. spartanmt: Generally, Eagle/Horn owls have a wider variety of food, than say barn owls.

    These guys will eat all kinds of rodentia, frogs, snakes/lizards, birds and insects.

  4. Tracey & Allen,
    Thank you so much for allowing us to visit your precious babies this morning. What a privilege it was to see them and to meet you. I think those beautiful birds knew exactly which balcony to choose. You are doing WONDERFUL work with the wetlands project too. I will be following your journey and if there is anything I can do to help your cause, please just shout.
    Big thumbs up to you both and many thanks for the hospitality.
    Kind regards

  5. Wonderful! Their little faces are SO expressive. I also watched PPO bring the cricket and end up eating it herself. Made me laugh at the time. It's even funnier after the excerpt from the book :).

  6. thank you, mr. wolfie, for furthering my owl education. i'm getting to be quite a smarty pants about wildlife since starting to watch these wonderful cameras...

  7. Their faces are just too cute, and they are changing each and every day. PPO is teaching them more than we will ever know, and as I watched he try to groom the little little one I saw just how independent they are becoming. It really brought a smile to my face watching that episode! Once again a wonderful Owl season. Thank you for this terrific experience.

  8. I love them and I was really laughing when she had to eat the cricket herself. Yesterday I saw one of them swallow a snake that wasn't dead yet. They grow up so fast.