Mrs. Coconut’s behavior has changed over the past few weeks — she’s been staying in the box a lot more, only leaving at dusk and dawn (as far as I can tell). This is a good sign that there are eggs in the box. The other night I went out to sneak a peek when I thought she’d flown and she surprised me by returning to the box when I wasn’t looking. But the next night, I kept my eye on our spotting scope camera and went out with my phone on a 5-foot pole and was able to sneak this peek:
3-4 little owlets! Very new. So it finally happened. Mr. Coconut is very busy now, making deliveries to the the box. He’ll have to work extra hard now for the next 3-4 weeks until the owls get big enough to fledge:
Mr. Coconut very busy making deliveries for mama and owlets tonight ? pic.twitter.com/OqtoHsFszA
— Austin Kleon (@austinkleon) April 13, 2023
This is not an easy, cuddly time for these owls, the way it is for humans with newborns. This is an extremely dangerous time. Predators can hear the babies and smell the fresh kills the owls have in the box. Last year I was watching an owl cam and a black raccoon hand reached in and took an owlet. (One of the worst horror movies I’ve ever seen.) A friend of mine on the east side of Austin watched a raccoon spoil all the eggs in her owl box and not even eat the things.
Nature is brutal, and these creatures do not get a break. Even their pleased little chirping bird baths are tempered with a kind of paranoid scanning of the environment:
Good morning here’s footage of Coconut taking a morning bath ?
(Sound on for pleased screech owl sounds) pic.twitter.com/0oR132m0Lk
— Austin Kleon (@austinkleon) April 5, 2023
Now we wait and keep our eyes and ears open. Regardless of what happens this season, we will probably mod the box next year with a 24-hour camera inside a la Merlin The Owl.
Some people have asked us if we’ll name the owlets — Sarah and Percy and Bill have already been floated as possibilities:
(We read this book a lot when the boys were kids, even before we had owls.)
Stay tuned! (And follow me on Instagram for the best owl updates.)