When we want to really see what the owls do, we video tape them on 6 hour video tapes.  There are  couple of reasons for this.  First they rarely do anything, so it's best to be able to fast forward through the tapes looking for action.  Second, some of the action is very fleeting, it's good to be able to replay, slow motion, and freeze frame.  Also, some cameras are easier to fast on fast forward than others.  When an owl arrives at the box there may be only 1/2 second of video of the owl swooping up, landing, and jumping into the box.  But then the owl is in the box for the next few minutes or hours.  So, we can run simultaneous tapes outside and inside the box, watch inside for an owl to arrive, and then know just where to look on the outside tape for the landing.

One thing we really wanted was to see the dad delivering food while mom incubated eggs and brooded chicks.  Last year without night vision, we only saw the aftermath.  Once the chicks were born, there would be a small pile of rodents in one corner of the box every morning.  So what time does Dad come, how often, etc.  On the first night of incubating we taped from 9:00 PM to 3:00 AM.  We thought that Dad made 5 deliveries at 9:01, 9:20, 9:24, 10:13, and 12:24.  But that was from watching the inside camera.  During that time, Mom spent some time sitting in the hole looking out (her passion, looking out that hole) and so later we stumbled across this amazing video (390K).  You barely see it, but he hands her a rodent just as he arrives.  Not sure of the exact time, but this was before 10:30.  So, Mom got 6 rodents from Dad that night.  Plus, she went out hunting on he own from 10:27 to 10:33 and from 12:59 to 1:15 and may have caught one or two then.

When Mom is resting inside the box Dad deliver sfood right to her, then jumps in, turns arounf, and climbs out.   Here's the video (758K).

It looks like Mom is a bit bigger than Dad.  So, here are a couple of photos.  The one on the left is Mom, taken in January.  The one on the right is Dad, taken April 3rd.

Looks like Dad is in fact smaller.  The other thing we notice is that when Mom hangs out of the hole, she fills it pretty tight, Dad slips through with room to spare.

Here is one of Dad's deliveries from April 3rd.  This is the best frame for seeing that he's carrying something in his beak.   I suppose I have to figure out how to get the video without the interlace.