Wild Ride

Ward's six-week ordeal as the sole hunter in the family ended today as June was finally able to get away from the nest for long enough to make some serious catches. Her first big catch occurred at 10am, when she returned with a short-tailed shrew. This is one of the most popular items on the owl's daytime menu and the owlets went nuts when they looked up and saw her bringing it into the nest. They wheezed, peeped, jumped on June, bit her wings, and fought for every morsel as she ripped it up for them. About half way through the feeding, Dexter mysteriously retreated from the competition and tunneled back under June. It wasn't clear what he was up to until June looked back to see that he had grabbed the entire half of the shrew that she had been hiding from them. It was considerably wider than his head and he looked ridiculous as he tried desperately to swallow it whole. June just watched him for a while before leaning over to try to take it away. Dexter, however, would not release it  and clung on tightly even as she lifted the shrew (with Dexter hanging on) high in the air and swung them all the way around in the nest. Not until she put them on the ground and started ripping the shrew into pieces did Dexter let go and settle for something that he could actually swallow. Two-week old owlets are obviously not able to judge their own limitations. The owlets have repeated their frenzied attacks on June each time she enters the nest and showed no sign of letting up as night fell and Ward added his contribution to the constant flow of prey. I don't know whether it's the cool weather or a shortage of food, but these are easily the most hyper-active owlets that June has ever had to deal with. If owls are capable of abstract thought, she must be asking herself if she is not getting too old for this kind of work.

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