Full Time Job

Yesterday was June's last chance to spend time outside the nest and she took full advantage of it. Even though it rained for most of the day and night, she left her first egg alone in the nest as she perched in nearby trees and hooted for Ward to bring her food. She did not return to the nest until just after dawn today when she entered soaking wet and started preening her feathers. Four hours after entering, she sat up as shown here  and starting making that unique coughing sound that indicates she is about to lay an egg. 
About two minutes later, she turned around to examine the new egg. The eggs are nearly perfectly round and almost as big as the eggs you might have for breakfast. The shells are, however, much tougher and were not damaged when she stepped on them and slammed  them together as she conducted the inspection shown here. She then started incubating the eggs and has not been outside the nest since. While Ward did not call home today, he somehow knew that it was time to start delivering June's meals directly to the nest and showed up at 8 pm with the first home delivery of the year.

While two eggs is the most common clutch size for barred owls, Ward and June have produced three eggs in three of the last five years. I hope that they will opt for a smaller family this year as three owlets would put quite a strain on them after such a rough winter. If there is to be a third egg this year, it should come in the next two or three days.

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