Monday, December 02, 2013
Tracking the 3 P's has been a learning experience for sure. First we realized that it was terribly difficult to track the young owls with just a directional (yagi) antenna, as we lost all three of them within one week! So we got an omni-directional antenna that sticks to the roof of the car with a magnet, and it worked so well we found Patrick and Patience within a few hours of receiving the antenna in the mail.
But despite putting on hundreds of miles driving in every direction from Houston, we've been unable to locate Pandora. The only other option was to go up in an airplane to give better reception range, and thankfully flight instructor Dale Scobie agreed to take us up.
We got a bead on Patrick before we left for the airport, so we'd have some kind of baseline to determine the range of the receiver in the airplane. I got faint beeps from Patrick as soon as we were up in the air in Caledonia, over 12 miles away!
View Pandora, Patrick and Patience Locations in a larger map
We essentially flew a large circle around Houston, periodically stopping to make small circles so the directional antenna would pick up the owls no matter where they were. We went west to Lanesboro, south almost to Mabel, east to the Mississippi River, and north to Winona. We covered a large area.
Patrick came in loud and clear anywhere to the south. Patience, always checking out new places, had tucked herself into a little valley so her signal was only good when we were within maybe five miles.
But as much as we tried, there was absolutely no signal from Pandora.
So what does this mean? Either her transmitter is no longer anywhere in the area, it has stopped working, or it was destroyed. Even if Pandora had died her transmitter would still be transmitting. At this point there is no way to know, so you get to choose your own ending to her story.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Although Rusty and Iris were successfully hunting and killing rats in the flight pen when the owlets were still there, mice seem to have complete and total impunity in the breeding pen. Here's a field mouse running around all over the nest again. Are these mice pets or what?
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
In Rusty's absence Iris had to deal with Rhett and Delilah's nightly intrusions. Besides hooting on and around their aviaries, Rhett and Delilah figured out how to get INTO the open flight pen. The door had been left open so the owlets could return to mooch food if needed, but they didn't.
It seemed a long wait to get through Rusty's medication dosing so he could go back with Iris. I was only too happy to close the outside door to the flight pen to prevent the wild owls from coming in and to put Rusty back out there. He was disoriented at first, probably from a combination of being in a dog carrier for almost a week and from the effects of missing his right eye. Their eyes are huge, so missing that much weight on one side of his head could easily affect things.
Rusty didn't fly much once he got up onto a perch, but he did hoot some, as did Iris.
It wasn't until the next night, after Rusty had eaten his last pill-laden food, that I could open the door between the pens so Rusty and Iris could be together again. And what a happy occasion it was!!