Woody's Birthday

Woody the owl hatched sometime during the night and was already wheezing for food when the sun came up. It was, however, a tough first day for Woody as there was no food in the nest. June repeatedly called for food, but there was no response from Ward as all the owlets joined in begging for food that she did not have to give them. By 3pm, she had become so impatient that she went out looking for Ward, leaving Woody alone to compete with the older owlets. They immediately piled on him in their never-ending struggle to be on top when the food arrives. That's Daphne facing the camera with her head on Woody's back and Dexter with his head on top of Daphne. Woody struggled and escaped a few times, but always seemed to wind up on the bottom. When June returned twenty minutes later, she brought no food and the wheezing continued throughout the afternoon. I've never heard June sound so distressed as her whines had become desperate squeals by the time Ward arrived at 8pm. She burst out of the nest to meet him before he even reached the door and was back in a matter of seconds. She started ripping the prey up immediately and was soon making that familiar galloping sound which drove the owlets into a feeding frenzy. The hissing sound that follows is the earliest version of the wheezing call which will continue to develop through the entire nesting season. The prey item Ward delivered must have been a big  one because the session lasted for more than twenty minutes. As of 11pm, Ward had not returned, but the owlets were sleeping quietly and must have been satisfied with their meal. Ward will definitely have to step up his hunting production if all of the owlets are to make it.

Note: Woody is named after the "Wood Owl" family of which Barred Owls are a member. There are at least 20 species of owls in this family and they are spread throughout most of  the World. In addition to the Barred Owl, this family includes the Spotted Owl  in the Western United States, the Tawny Owl in much of Europe, and the Sichuan Wood Owl in the mountain forests of Central China. All bear a strong resemblance to the Barred Owl, with big round heads and dark eyes, but they speak surprisingly different languages.

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