Friday, October 19, 2012

19 October and my mind churns

One question that is playing over and over in my mind is:

How would this situation be playing out if PPO had chosen a 'normal' Spotted Eagle Owl nest i.e. a scraping in the ground, or a fork in a tree?

PPO would be closer to predators of all kinds if she was on the ground. Larger snakes would probably try to get the eggs. There may be animals such as dogs bothering her. In heavy rains, nests have been known to be washed away.

So if PPO had chosen a 'normal' nest, would she still be sitting on the eggs? She must know that there is no life in the eggs and therefore nothing is going to happen.

Is she staying longer on the eggs because of how safe her nesting area is - one storey up away from dogs and cats? No snakes have ever - touch wood - slid up the walls and onto the balcony before. We leave PPO alone so we are not a perceived threat to her at this stage.

As much as PPO and Pappa are left to their own devices on our balcony, the balcony is still an unnatural nesting site for them. When weighing up the pros and cons of taking the eggs away versus letting her continue to sit, surely we need to look at the actual site too?

Could this question suggest that the best thing to do at this point is to take the eggs away?


  1. Tracy, I hope you don't mind if I comment on your blog. Since you asked what seemed to be more than a rhetorical question, I felt moved to answer. Of course, nothing I say is based on any expertise. I admittedly have none.

    The disturbance of their natural nesting site has told PPO and Pappa that they must abandon it. There is probably no turning back for them.

    If the eggs had hatched, they would have been with you until December. There doesn't seem to be any harm in their remaining for the rest of what would have been their rearing season.

    Maybe they're doing the same thing they would do if they had a failed nest in their natural habitat. Just hanging out until the seasons tell them it's time to move on.

    If you take the eggs away, they may abandon your balcony for good. What happens to them then?

    I know you want to get the eggs to try to find out what went wrong. You probably also want your balcony back now that there are no babies who need it, but however it is that PPO and Pappa are behaving, there may be a reason for it that is best left to its own time.

    You must do what you think is best, of course. Just my two cents and thank you for letting me comment.

  2. Tracey, I also am not an expert. I have had birds that have laid eggs even though there was no mate. They would protect them and sit on them for weeks until they were very sure it was over. One time however I did take them away and she immediately laid a few more.I took those away and again she laid more. Since I was getting worried about her health I let her finish what she needed to do when she laid more. It took her about 3 weeks after what would have been the hatch date to finally walk away from them and get back to her life. I know how hard a decision this is for you. This has been the routine for Pappa and PPO for a few years now. They are protected on your patio. I really believe that they will leave on their own within a week or too. Again this is just my opinion and from observation. As you said, if she wasn't on your patio she would be dealing with this somewhere else. They are comfortable with you and Allen. I can't tell you what to do, I just want to say that maybe they should be allowed another week or two to be able to leave on their own and not be forced to do so. I wish you and Allen all the best and pray that all works out well for the amazing PPO and Pappa. Thank you so much for sharing this wonder with us.

    1. "Thank you so much for sharing this wonder with us."
      It is the truth.
      Thank you so much♥

  3. Then again, if PPO had been in a natural nest without walls she might have kicked out the eggs, or that's the impression I've got from things that have been written.

    I wouldn't be in your shoes, Tracy, I was hoping that experts you are acquainted with could be helpful to you.

    I feel certain that you will be supported by all of us the "PPO community" whatever you decide to do. I hope each day to log on and find a message saying that our dear PPO and Pappa have left, so that you would be spared any decision.

  4. Such a difficult decision. However as DSKYYKSD says, PPO & Pappa must have abandoned more vulnerable sites for the safety of your balcony. If you remove the eggs might they perceive that the balcony now has predators and so not return next year? I know it must be heartbreaking to see them persevering but I am sure mother nature will tell PPO when to give up on the eggs

  5. I too am glad I am not in your shoes!! One thing I have learned while watching these cams is that nest location/territory is primary to raptors. Territory actually trumps mates in most cases. I am far from being an expert, especially with owls, but with peregrine falcons and eagles, egg removal does not drive them away from a prime nest site. . only another bird will. Since PPO and Pappa return year after year, they have claimed your balcony as their home, even though they know humans are near by. I think this speaks to how comfortable they are around both of you. .Hopefully, they will make the choice to move on so that you won't have to decide for them!!