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Owl eats own baby? (1 Viewer)

Joanner

Member
Ive been watching this owl cam for a while. About 20 minutes or so ago, one of the eggs looked to be hatching. Heard peeping. Mother owl was moving the egg around with the peeping. There was a notation that the egg was hatching.

Then it looked like she started eating the baby. Cam went off line for a few mintues. Cam is now back now. No more peeping and the mother looks to have blood on her.

Is it common for the mother to eat a baby? This is an experienced mom.

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/owlceanside
 

Bird_Bill

Well-known member
Hi Joanner,

It's a documented trait of our Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus), here in the states. Cited in first link below, accounts for a large percentage of loss of nestlings. Others owls here cited on a less frequent basis are our Screech owls(eastern & western), Barn Owl. The article below from Cornell notes that it is common in many birds of prey after the chick has died. The reason given is to recover nutritional needs. Nature can be harsh at times.

Paragraph titled 'Mortality' covers Great Horned Owl, with data (scroll down a ways)
http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/animals/bird/buvi/all.html#INTRODUCTORY

From Cornell, documents Barn Owls, not pleasant.
http://www.birds.cornell.edu/Publications/Birdscope/Summer2006/barn_owl_blogs.html
 

jforgham

Birding for fun
Quite frequently owls as well as other birds of prey lay a 2nd egg for insurance purposes. This is normally laid several days after the 1st. If the season is good and prey is available both owlets will fledge. However, the larger is always fed first. If prey is hard to come by, due to inclement weather etc then the younger one will starve to death and become food for the older owlet, thereby giving it a fighting chance of continuing the gene line. Harsh, but successful.
regards,
Jono
 

Joanner

Member
She laid 4 eggs. One was deemed "unviable" and I think I may have seen a crack in it. The second egg was the one which hatched and eaten. She is still sitting on 2 eggs. She had 6 live babies a couple of years go in this owl box, according to the info on the page.

I was just surprised to see her eat a live baby.
 

Bird_Bill

Well-known member
She laid 4 eggs. One was deemed "unviable" and I think I may have seen a crack in it. The second egg was the one which hatched and eaten. She is still sitting on 2 eggs. She had 6 live babies a couple of years go in this owl box, according to the info on the page.

I was just surprised to see her eat a live baby.

Hi Joanner, The browser needs an upgrade for viewing of your link. (my fault) Curious if the chick was determined healthy or unhealthy prior to the event? Looking at material from Cornell, mention is made that chick was unhealthy in some manner. Splendid post made by jforgham, also.
Bill
 

Joanner

Member
I am interested in seeing what Cornell said about the incident. Can you provide a link?

I watched the hatching and I am not sure how it could be determined if there was anything wrong with the chick, other than the mother ate it so something must have been wrong with it.

Love to see the link so I can keep up with it. Thanks.
 

Bird_Bill

Well-known member
Hi Joanner, excuse me, I apologize for the vague manner its embedded in first post, directly below your opening comment, second link. That, dates from 2006, so it's a bit dated. I'll check around for anything more current, and add if possible. Regards, Bill

EDIT
Forgive me for the unorthodox edit, wouldnt be happy with myself if I didnt

I apologize if the title of my first post offended anyone. I guess it provided some humor to some though that was not my intent.

If you tell me how I can edit the title so it doesn't offend or mislead anyone, let me know.

Also where can I request that this thread be deleted?

Hi Joanerr, This is a difficult subject to think about, may be considered macbre by some. Not talked of, or discused often, in a public venue. I, for one beg you to reconsider having it deleted. Your post forced myself to study a bit and grow some more. You've done good in my eyes. I dont feel Fugl had any intention of ill feelings, or disrepect.
Bill
 
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Joanner

Member
Hi Bill: Thanks for the link you mentioned. I totally missed it.

The baby was obviously alive, breaking out of the shell, and peeping. It was exciting to anticipate the baby and then a tremendous shock watching her eat it.

Anticipating that another egg should hatch in the next day or two and hopefully there will be a better outcome.

In that Cornell article, it said "...multi-tasking, such as when the female held a gift of a rat from the male in her beak while incubating eggs and allowing him to mate with her." That exact behavior happened just this morning!!
 
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fugl

Well-known member
Sorry to interrupt--it's been an interesting discussion--but I can't get used to the thread title: "Owl eats baby". Every time see it I jump in my seat slightly. ;)
 

Joanner

Member
I apologize if the title of my first post offended anyone. I guess it provided some humor to some though that was not my intent.

If you tell me how I can edit the title so it doesn't offend or mislead anyone, let me know.

Also where can I request that this thread be deleted?
 

fugl

Well-known member
I apologize if the title of my first post offended anyone. I guess it provided some humor to some though that was not my intent.

If you tell me how I can edit the title so it doesn't offend or mislead anyone, let me know.

Also where can I request that this thread be deleted?

Lighten up, I was just joking (note the smiley). And I can't imagine anybody else being "offended" (??) or (seriously) misled by your title, so there's no need to edit or delete anything.
 
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