After the excitement of egg one, it has been fabulous watching Aluco in the nest box and waiting for the next egg to arrive. As she has been for the last few months, she is spending the days inside the nest box. She does not incubate the eggs yet, although may appear to sit on them. Her night time behaviour has changed though. Normally, as soon as the light faded, she would leave the box and not return until first light.
Now, she may leave the box for a bit as the light fades, she will return to the box later on. She often goes out again in the early hours, but always returns just as the sun comes up.
With this increased time inside the nest box comes a reliance on Strix. He must now start bringing food to her as she is not spending much time hunting herself. I think this period also starts to get him into mindset of providing for her again, in preparation for the owlets. Last year we had three and feeding himself, her AND 3 owlets meant a lot of hunting. He is not as good a hunter as her. I have recorded her bringing back a huge variety of species, including birds.
Aluco is always on the alert, listening for Strix. On the 2nd Feb, she left the nest box to reveal a second egg. This was laid late in the evening. Sometimes Strix will call her and she will leave the box to go to him, to collect the food he has caught.
Other times, he will deliver the food to her. This delivery was half a rat. I presume he ate the front half himself, returning to the nest box with the rest of it.....
If you watch Aluco, she is alert before he lands on the platform. He must call from a while away and she responds with her 'kee-wick' call. He also responds with a chirruping call, delivering the rat to her .
She always spends a little time calling, with the prey in her beak. It is like she is having a conversation, thanking him for the food. She then eats the remains of the rat in one go!
Strix is not bringing her enough food for her to stop hunting for herself yet. In the early hours. after he had not delivered, she left for a few hours. In this period, he arrived with a rat. He called her from outside, but no response. This exterior cam does not have a microphone, sadly.
This interior entrance one does though! I have not heard him make these vocalisations very often before for this long. He is confused as to why she isn't in the box to receive his offering! He spends a while looking in there and calling, before entering the box, which he rarely does!
At 7.30am, Aluco returned. The sun was just rising. She seemed to enjoy viewing the scene before returning to her box for another day. As she contemplated entering, a magpie mobbed her from the outside!
She has a long stint in here. Once she finishes laying, she will have a 30 day incubation period.
Keep an eye out on the camera, as we should see the 3rd egg over the weekend, hopefully.