April 3, 2000

Big day today.  Mom apparently laid her fourth egg today.  So, she was likely to start incubating and we'd never get to replace that bad camera.  The new camera had come Fed Ex on Friday, but the Fed Ex driver thought we weren't here and left a note instead of the camera.  Another delivery attempt failed this afternoon and forced me to drive to the airport to get the camera.  Mom looked like she was settled down to incubate and going nowhere.  Then, she was gone.  I got up the ladder, removed the side of the box, removed the camera board, put the side back on the box, and came in to switch cameras.  About 30 minutes later I went out to reinstall the camera board, removed the side of the box and there I was staring straight into Mom's very wide eyes.  Oops, didn't mean to do that!  I put the side back on the box immediately, but Mom went out the hole and flew off.  Fine, put the camera board back in and hope for the best.  I had planned to take the camcorder out for some closeup shots of the eggs.  They're truly beautiful, very white, translucent, nearly spherical - quite a sight up close.  Mom was quite a sight up close too, wish I'd known she was there so I coul dhave been ready to really look.  But then, had I known she was there I wouldn't have opened the box.  Five minutes after the new board was back in and the side was back on, Mom was home sitting on her eggs - apparently no harm done.  But then, the experienced nest box watchers have been telling me all along that I'm over concerned about disturbing the mother.

Was it worth it?  You tell me.  Here's a picture of the four eggs taken eariler this evening:

Look closely.  Fiddle with the contrast and brightness on your monitor.  You see the eggs don't you?  Oh, well, here's the new camera:

Better, eh?  Here's Mom incubating:

Those of you who want to try some video, here's a clip taken tonight of Mom returning to the box after I scared her off.  Before we got the cameras, I wondered how she got down to the bottom of the box, now I know - she jumps.  This clip gives a great view of my favorite thing about Owls - raptor wings.  All of these birds of prey have magnificent wings - Mom's no exception.  Click on this image to see the QuickTime video.  It's about 350K bytes, so will take nearly 2 minutes to download at 28.8.