Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Additional comments about baby Wesley

I just want to point out a few addendums to the post below...I did not personally see Wesley take food out of Max's beak. I was told that the picture was of him doing so, but I don't really know. Apparently some people, who I regard as very experienced, only saw them touch beaks, but did not see the transfer of food. So I may be wrong that he got food out of Max. I also saw Wesley struggling mightily to swallow a partial mouse, but he kept trying to swallow from the back, which doesn't work. The feet get in the way and get caught on the sides of the owl's mouth and he can never get the mouse down. And Wesley didn't. He hasn't learned to position the mouse so that he's swallowing it headfirst. It was so frustrating to watch.

So now I'm not so sure that he's going to get enough to eat. But as I said earlier, he will be rescued by the wildlife people if he starts to fail. Keep in mind - these owls belong to the Federal Government, for their own protection, just like the national parks and tidepools. They are not under the jurisdiction of private citizens.

I've also been told by the maker and installer of the box that the tree nearby is inadequate for fledging owlets. This is easily remedied by Carlos putting up a solid landing perch a few feet away from the porch for the babies to fly to, and there's time to put that in. No need to panic here.

Below the posts, I listed some of my favorite animal books for you to consider. Enjoy!

-Stacey

8 comments:

Roni said...

Thanks so much for your thoughts about baby Wesley. There's so much speculation in the chat room and so many people saying, "They're FINE," when they have no idea. They're just trying to keep people from worrying. Personally, I'd rather know the truth and to discuss real possibilities rather than sugar coat. I appreciate your expert opinion, so thanks!

Ter-o-fla said...

Totally agree with Roni on this.
Worry is one thing; consideration of possibilities in order to find out things and how to continue is another.
Thank you again for your time and patience in this issue!

Stacey O'Brien said...

You're welcome! I don't think it's right to just pretend things are fine if they're not. It's disingenuous.

It's like pretending the elephant isn't in the room, then there's this amazing level of peer pressure not to mention the elephant, and pretty soon we're all pretending we're not seeing what we are seeing. This is not possible for me as a scientist to do. I have been asked to actually CHANGE my opinion in order to make people FEEL GOOD! As if I have control over how people feel? This is not a fictional novel - this is real life. And we must deal only in the truth if we are to be able to do anything to help!

Thank you for affirming that. At Caltech, the motto is, "The truth shall set you free". What if the guys on Apollo 13 had been told to go ahead to the moon and just "think positive" about the leaking oxygen tanks and loss of power?

One chatter made the excellent point that people in the twin towers were told to pretend everything was fine and to go back to their offices. Like sheep, they went back to their offices only to be slaughtered. I would have been running down those stairs no matter what anyone said!

During the LA Riots we were pressured to carry on as if nothing was happening, in order to make some of the more nervous bosses "feel" like everything was "ok". It wasn't. Black smoke was blowing past our windows. So I brought our computers down with the protests of some coworkers ringing in my ears because by bringing the computers down I was admitting that this was a serious situation, which scared them. Then we lost power. Finally, we had to evacuate through the terrifying streets where there were no cops and anarchy reigned. It was terrifying.

I learned from this the importance of truth, more than ever.

I had a neighbor, who, during the La Costa fires, forced his family to carry on and sit down to dinner even as the fire raced toward his house, as if the very strength of his will could make it not be so. Flames licked around the house, then surrounded it quickly. His family ran for their lives. They got away but even though they had had hours - days to pack their valuables, they only got out with the clothes on their backs. Even the cars in the garage burned.

This is a fascinating human phenomenon, but it seems very silly to me. This owlet is going to be ok simply because he has so many people caring what happens to him!

And what good do I do if I make up happy stories that are not true, to fit someone's idea of how everyone is supposed to think? I deal in truth, not fantasy!

Fortunately, most people are like you and truly want to learn and see nature in action and understand.

After all, wildlife shows on TV don't try to hide the realities of predation and the hardships of animals in the wild!

This is an interesting social experiment, too. It often hits me that while we're watching owl behavior on one screen, we are watching human behavior on the other. I think the owls are sometimes more reasonable! The people are interesting to watch and learn from, though. AS a writer I find the people as fascinating as the owls.

Thanks for your comments!

Sincerely,
Stacey

Janet said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Susan said...

Thank you so much for your informative blog. I truly enjoy reading it. I'm glad that you won't bow to the pressure of changing your opinions over what is taking place in the owl box. I agree that this has been as much a fascinating view into human nature as it has been of owls. I try to remind myself that there is nothing wrong with being positive and that the chatters are likely well-meaning, but lately I've been finding it a bit overwhelming.

I was raised with a deep love and respect of nature through my parents. I spent several summers as a child at the local nature preserve, enrolled in educational classes (where I had the opportunity to meet a captive owl once!) Growing up in the country, I witnessed the unfortunate realities that nature can bring. I adore Molly and her family as much as everyone else, but I also understand that things may go wrong. I'm glad you are here to educate and remind viewers of that.

On a side note, I loved your beautiful book about your Wesley, and I picked up "Mind of the Raven" yesterday based on your recommendation! :)

wess_liana said...

Roni, Ter-o-fla, Susan! I couldn't agree more! Thank you Stacey for being a calm voice of reason :-) Oh, and BTW... Molly is back in the box today... whew! -Liana

mspeg said...

I looked in at the Owliver/Owlivia box last night. The babies were solo in the box and fighting big time for the treats (which when I was watching were few). I understand the mom is still staying in the nest but I don't see that frantic behavior in the Molly box. Are they not getting enough to eat?

Susan said...

I'm going to disagree w/you guys a bit here. Hope that's okay. And for the record, I'm different than the other Susan that posted.

When everyone kept telling folks "things were fine" on the chat room it was because people were jumping to these huge conclusions that the babies were going to starve to death if they didn't get food in the next 20 minutes. (or so their comments made it seem)

Here's Wesley all plump and growing everyday and everyone was freaking out about the little guy.

It was really quite annoying.

When folks said "everything is fine" on the chat rooms (and I was one of them) we weren't writing an owl thesis, we were trying to calm down the folks who came on and in 2 seconds started to panic that we needed an intervention to save the owlets!

I know squat about Owls, but I can look on my screen and see babies that are not starving, are not overly stressed and therefore don't appear to be neglected by their owl parents.

Maybe that won't always be the case, but I find the folks who assume the worst to have very little faith in these guys.

If there is an elephant in the room, I honestly can't see it. Are the babies being neglected? Are they under fed? Wesley seems very active and still is growing.

So is there an elephant in the room or not?

Susan in AZ