Eating snakes, eating, and not eating

I wonder how many people have seen a Garter Snake on a Great Horned Owl Nest? I sure haven’t! But through the technology of the streaming cam hundreds watched as Bonnie, the GHOW, tried to deal with just that. Yes, Clyde brought her a snake and it still had the head on it!

At first you might have been fooled into thinking it was someone’s garden hose but, nope. Lily apparently horked a nice big chunk of it and I am pretty certain if Lily had a piece so did Bonnie and Tiger.

Look at how big that first owlet, Tiger, is! You can see the pin feathers on the wings and body starting. Bonnie is going to have a harder and harder time keeping these owlets in that nest bowl.

And I should probably stop saying ‘Little’ Kisatchie. The eaglet in the nest near Kincaid Lake in Central Louisiana, named after the Kisatchie Forest, is quite big. Anna and Louis are first time parents and they keep Kisatchie full to the brim. Today, there were lots of people walking around in the park and the nest was not loaded with fish like it normally is but, look at the crop that is coming on this eaglet! Anna insists on ‘pushing’ the food in until Kisatchie can’t take another bite! Oh, what a contented nest. If every nest could be guaranteed one healthy hatch, oh, if!

Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for the Achieva Osprey nest. And for anyone reading this that gets upset about sibling dominance, then please stop here.

This morning Brutus, the oldest, got all of the fish save for a few bites for Tiny Tot. It is unclear if 2 got anything. A gar came in around 6:05 and Brutus again ate all of it while both Tiny Tot and 2 took the submissive pose. They curl up and hide their heads to protect them from the pecking. The problem is literally a growing one. Brutus eats lots more and grows and then requires more food. Tiny Tot and 2 are probably in sub-par survival mode today.

Intellectually I understand dominance, ‘survival of the fittest’ and even understand siblicide but it sure doesn’t make it any easier to watch. I am not saying that is what is happening here. But with the heat and storms of last week, the eldest has been triggered to dominate all the food, not allowing the others to eat until it is full. That sometimes means they go without.

The image below shows Brutush eating the 6:05pm fish. Tiny Tot is in submission as is 2 on the other side of Brutus.

Tiny Tot has remained in submission. Brutus feels 2 moving and stops eating to go and peck its head and shake it so that it will not come up for food. Neither Tiny Tot or 2 attempt to eat anything.

Jack brought in another fish at 8:02. As might be expected, Brutus is up at the front but it is not really wanting to eat. Diane pushes flakes of fish in its mouth. It is there to intimidate the other two who not having eaten more than a few morsels all day are hungry. But they are not eating. Brutus being there is enough. Yesterday the two held their own and ate but, not today.

And Mom was hungry, too. And so..only mom and Brutus ate.

We will just have to wait and see what tomorrow brings. This nest has fooled me before.

Thank you for joining me. Take care everyone.

Thank you to the Achieva Credit Union, the Kisatchie National Forestry Department, and Farmer Derek for their streaming cams. That is where I get my scaps.

The Owlets have names

Just a very quick announcement. The two Great Horned Owls, Bonnie and Clyde, who stole the Bald Eagle nest on the farm near Newton, Kansas had two eggs hatch. The oldest hatched on 7 March and the youngest 9 March. Already they have pin feathers and the oldest horked an entire mouse last night! The farmer that set up the streaming cam for the Bald Eagles and whose family has welcomed the owls has two daughters. Those daughters got to pick the names for the owlets. The oldest is Tiger and the little one is Lily! What wonderful names.

You can just see the proud mama, Bonnie, and one of the little ones sticking its head up.

Lovely names and it is so nice to see the entire family involved. We have all learned so much since the owls took over the nest on 1 February. Thank you Farmer Derek and your family.