In 1999 we had just one camera, it was black and white, daylight only, had no microphone, had a lens that was too wide for how we had it mounted, had only about 350 lines of resolution, and was plagued by cobwebs across the lens at the most inopportune times. Still having never been able to spy inside the box before it was a big deal for us, especially when we got our first glimpse of eggs:
Then on May 16th, then 3 year old Nicky commented, "Hey, she's got a mouse in there with her." Notice how she's supporting herself on her wings and has her head in under doing something. She did this a lot while incubating. We're pretty sure she turned the eggs regularly. Here though she may be either feeding a newborn chick, helping it hatch, or just checking it out. We saved a lot of the video from the 16th and she spent a lot of time in this position that day. Can't find the mouse? Click the image.
Later that day we got our first glimpse of owlet. It's not so clear in the still frame, but on video it was unmistakable.
On the 21st, we got this good look at an owlet. By this time there were probably 2 or three, the quality of our gear and the quality of our record keeping both left a lot to be desired.
Here's a shot of how those big magnificent wings start out. Click the image if you need it pointed out.
It turns out that still images just don't do this day justice. There are at least six dead rodents in the box this morning - one of them a big gopher. Watching the video, you can see Mom rearranging them once in a while and get a much better look at them. Those things that look like eyes aren't - in at least one case, they're mouse armpits. Click the image for a guide.
We were pretty sure we had four chicks, but until this shot had never seen all four at one time. All of that blur is cobwebs.
As they grow, they begin to look more like owls.
So, stills really don't seem to work well. Maybe we'll get some video clips of the 1999 owls up soon, if the 2000 owls don't hatch...