A Shocking Introduction to Life Inside the Nest Box
A Fight Between Two Owls
The 2015 nesting season was the first year I could see inside the nest box. The original box hung in the same place since 2007, and I assumed the same owl would take up residence in the new box.
The two inside cameras were in place, but I was still figuring out how to view multiple cameras at once (a home security system DVR became the method).
The wiring for the cameras hung down from the box. All I could do was unroll the wire each evening, wind it into my house and plug it into a TV to see inside. Then roll the wiring back up afterward. Not very convenient!
An owl showed up and started to lay eggs. After a week she had four beautiful eggs carefully centered in the box and easily visible on camera.
Then, at dusk another owl flew into the box and attacked. The resident owl flipped backward onto her back and used her talons to repel. It was over in a few seconds. The intruder left. Our resident stayed. From what I could see on camera, the eggs, somehow, looked okay.
The next night - another attack. This one was just as brief but broke at least some of the eggs.
Our resident did not return in the morning. The ants however, came for the smashed eggs. I took down the nest box and cleaned it out. One egg and was whole with hairline cracks and I left it in the box. I know now that even the littlest hairline crack make an egg non-viable.
That was the last time I looked in the spring. It was such a shocking sight. Now I know it's owl life, just territorial disputes.
An owl did take up residence after that, because I found a second egg in the box in the summer.
I don't know whether Olivia was the original resident or the intruding owl. But she was the owl that showed up in the fall of 2015 to occupy the house.
I think she might have been the intruder for one reason. Olivia has always kept her eggs in the front corner of the box, where it's been hard to get a good camera view. That is very different than the owl who kept them in the middle of the box. Of course, it could also be learned behavior - that they are safer in the corner.
What a wild start to owl watching.