Protecting the Egg

June spent less than 3 of the first 24 hours inside the nest with her egg and Ward seemed a bit disturbed by this behavior.  He even broke his silence around the nest by sitting on the rail and hooting into the nest box when he arrived with prey and found the egg alone on the floor. On one occasion, he continued with his monkey call until June returned to accept the meal that he had delivered. Not until the second night, however, did he arrive and find June in the nest to greet him with loud squealing as he passed the prey through the door. This restored her confidence in Ward to the extent that she was still there waiting for him when he made his next delivery several hours later.
June continued to spend most of her time inside the nest today, but did enjoy a couple of short outings to take advantage of  the warm spring day. She is shown here in a pine tree near the nest box where she spent almost half of her time looking back at the nest. She flew back to the nest after about an hour, but remained in the doorway until Ward made his first delivery of the night at 7:30pm. While it's not necessary to incubate the egg at this point, there is a somewhat higher risk that the egg will be taken by a climbing predator when June is out of the nest. Raccoons especially enjoy feasting on owl eggs and are probably the greatest threat in this area. This is the major reason that it is so important for humans to stay away from the nest box during nesting seasons. Raccoons, fishers, and other predators look for food where they smell the scent of humans.

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