Tuesday, June 5, 2012

First full week of monitoring Boreal Owls 2012

Well, we have our first full week of monitoring Boreal Owl boxes on the Elliott under our belt.  Our undergraduate from the Mount, Jen, has arrived, and has begun taking buccal swabs from all of the chicks.
Of the 11 occupied boxes on the Elliott, we have an average of about 5 chicks per nest.  We started out with a total of 50 chicks, but 3 have perished.  One chick was born with a deformed bill, and we didn't think it would survive, and it didn't.  The other two chicks are just gone from their box.  We're not sure if the box was predated or what.  So, we currently have 47 chicks and 2 eggs that still need to hatch.  Here is a family photo from box EL 15.
The older chicks are now in the wet, projectile poop stage, which makes handling them an adventure every day.  In order to check all of the boxes every other day, we are travelling about 182 miles round trip and it is taking us about 10 hours each day.  So, we teach our classes in the morning, get on the road by 1:30pm and are back home by around 11pm.  Exhausting, but exciting as hell!  You can tell it's a good day, when your student falls asleep on the way home - even on an incredibly bumpy dirt road!

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