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Hellgate's Ospreys will soon fledge—don't miss it!

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August 01, 2014

Division of Labour

Ospreys show a distinct division of labour, as we have seen here at the Hellgate nest. The male, Stan has done the majority of the hunting and the female Iris spends over 90% of the day and presumably all night brooding, guarding, sheltering and feeding the nestlings. When off the nest she is likely bathing, chasing intruders (defending the nest) and possibly foraging (rare until the young fledge). It is thought that the slow developing helpless young are a contributing factor to this division of care. For several days after hatching the young birds' internal temperature varies considerably, they therefore must be brooded by an adult until they are able to control their temperature/ thermoregulate. However they also require some protection even after they are able to thermoregulate. We have seen Iris sheltering the nestlings from both the rain and intense sun. Both Iris and Stan are helping raise the young to independence. With Stan hunting and Iris brooding they have the best chance of survival. Iris is starting to leave the nest more often now as the nestlings get older and are closer to fledging. Click ‘More…’ for further information regarding Iris’s activity.  

August 01, 2014

Keeping Cool

In Barn Owls the control of body temperature has not been studied in detail. It is thought that the capacity for temperature regulation in young owls develops slowly. Birds do not have sweat glands and use various different methods to thermoregulate. One of those methods is gular fluttering/ panting. Several species vibrate the muscles and bones in their throats, helping to cool their airways and lower an elevated internal temperature. When the Barn Owl chicks open and close their beaks quickly without making a sound this is what they are likely doing. It is hot in Italy, Texas right now and although the box is shaded and well ventilated they still need to keep cool. 

July 31, 2014

Snowy Owl Cam Closing Today

As the Snowy Owl chicks have moved quite some distance away from the camera now we have decided to close the camera for the season. It has been an amazing few weeks. Thanks to the viewers, explore.org and the Owl Research Institute for making this cam so enjoyable. You can check out more explore cams at their site http://explore.org . Click 'More...' for further information about the great work of the Owl Research Institute. 

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