Cutting Back

(7-30-02)

Spencer and Penelope have returned to the area of the nest box after a six week absence and can be heard wheezing for food throughout the night. Ward and June, however, appear to be cutting back on the food deliveries and usually ignore the wheezing so that the young owls are forced to develop their own hunting skills. One of them is getting the message and gives up on the wheezing after a couple of hours, while the other one (pictured here) continues wheezing until dawn and is forced to hunt in daylight. Swarms of birds can be heard harassing it throughout the day as it attempts to hunt. The adults should continue to cut back on the food over the next few weeks so that both owlets will learn that they are better off  hunting than wheezing .

This wheezing call was recorded at 1 am on July 30th and illustrates the slow development of the owlets voices. The primary change over the last two months has been the addition of lower frequency components which give the wheeze a slightly mellower sound. They should start practicing their adult calls in the next thirty to sixty days as they prepare to leave their parent's territory.

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