1. When is egg-laying season?
|Female Barn Owl in her nest box|
|Male Barn Owl standing guard over his lady|
Yes, we will lay eggs, but only some of us, and only in the right conditions. It takes the perfect combination of conditions (food base, stress, and age key among them) for a raptor to lay eggs, even in the wild. In captivity a raptor has a steady, healthy diet, so that usually isn't a factor, but if the raptor never gets completely comfortable with being in captivity, she simply won't lay eggs. On the other hand, some birds take to egg-laying in captivity like an Owl takes to nighttime. We have numerous educational birds that lay eggs each year, and those birds often lay large clutches since they have the diet and care to support the effort.
3. What does the RMRP do with eggs laid in captivity?
|Common Barn Owl eggs weeksbay.org|
|Young Great Horned Owls with "mom"|
Here's the great part of this process: because the parents are allowed to sit on fake eggs and stay "in the zone", they're ready to take on mom-and-dad duty when orphaned raptors are brought in to the center! When it comes down to it, we raptors are only as smart as our instincts. So if one day we wake up and there are baby birds in the nest, even though they seem a little old for new hatchlings, and gee, I never saw them actually hatch...we don't care! We're wired in one way: if it's an egg, sit on it; if it's a baby, feed it. Through this quirky process, the RMRP is able to supply orphaned raptors with real-life role models. The educational birds teach the kids how to eat (and what to eat), how to keep feathers in good condition, how to hiss and strike at Humans, etc. It works out for everyone.
4. Why don't you hand over the orphaned raptors to other birds in rehabilitation, instead of giving them to educational birds?
|Young Great Horned Owl reacting appropriately to a Human|
5. How many eggs do captive raptors lay?
|Baby American Kestrel eating lunch|
Those are all the questions I've come up with today, but if you think of any more, feel free to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or simply post a comment below, and I promise I'll answer! And stay tuned for details and pictures of eggs and, eventually, baby owls.