It's the end of this breeding season. It's strange to write 'breeding' season when no successful breeding occurred, but it is nonetheless, time to close the doors on the balcony nest for the time being.
Right now, I am in the process of gathering as much material as I can from owl experts and such like, to see what may have gone wrong, and what we can expect going forward.
Right now, we find ourselves in a Catch-22 situation.
Do we leave the eggs with PPO until she decides to abandon them (we are now day 47 of what should be an approx 30-32 day cycle of incubation)?
Or do we take the eggs away from her - they are clearly not viable - and allow her to get on with her life, and perhaps another breeding season?
If we leave the eggs, who do we benefit - science or PPO? There is evidence to suggest that the longer she sits on the eggs, the more energy she is using. Pappa is also expending a lot of extra energy by hunting for her.
If we take the eggs away, do we really benefit PPO, or do we just disrupt the natural cycle and possibly a recorded scientific observation? There is no doubt that where possible, one should never interfere with the natural order of things. Time and time again, Man has interfered with the view to 'saving or helping' something, and it has backfired - badly.
Something to think about. We will keep asking the experts questions and see what they come up with.
Will let you know.