Both of the eggs hatched!
Noon Friday, the first owlet emerged from the egg. When we have owls in the box, our TV is on all day long. As I was passing by the set Friday, I noticed that the mother owl was getting a breath of fresh air by sitting in the opening of the box. The eggs were visible and one egg was cracked and shaking. Soon, a tiny black beak started to poke its way out of the shell. That was all I was able to see, momma jumped back and covered the eggs again.
Within a few minutes, she had the egg shell in her mouth and either ate it or broke it up into tiny pieces. A new owl was born. The second owlet emerged from its egg about nine hours later.
Not long after a baby owl hatches, it wants to eat, as do most newborns. Screech Owls usually hunt at night and normally consume their prey whole. It is really interesting to see that this mother owl had saved some critter from the previous night’s hunt to have food for her newly hatched offspring. We could see a small lizard (dead, of course) in one corner of the nest box. When the baby started chirping for food, momma had it readily available. She reached over to her storage corner and tore off small pieces of the lizard for the newborn.
The new owlets want fed often. Poor mother owl doesn’t get much rest. She spends much of the day sitting over the little owls and stares at the opening of box. When the little guys want more food, she has to get up, reach over to the corner “pantry” and start tearing off chunks for them.
To make matters a bit worse, there has been a nosy, female, red-bellied woodpecker pecking at the box and poking her beak in the opening on a regular basis. It seems the woodpecker is just curious, but it does upset the mother owl.
As soon as night arrived, so did the male with food for the mother and young. It is amazing to see him bring in prey that is the right size for the young. Last night he showed up with an earthworm and later a few bugs. As the owlets grow, he will bring larger prey.
FOG sez: Been there, done that. As our kids grew, we had to keep bringing larger bags of groceries.