Friday, April 27, 2007

California Cannibalism

Now that title's bound to draw some weird traffic but sadly, that's what's happened out in Benecia, CA in the barn owl box that I watch on the cam (see side bar). When Frieda laid 7 eggs I knew that bad things were going to happen. As the first chicks hatched and grew, the last to hatch got weaker and tastier looking. All I saw was the diminishing headcount. We are down to four. Talk about Survivors! I still haven't recovered from seeing the TX brood go all natural last spring when the Mum checked out a chick that died from the heat and then ate it in one gulp! Nature's way, I know but it's so hard to NOT anthropomorphize the critters. These chicks are a long way from cute but I can't help it.


Debra said...


Such is the life of a baby owl. The normal clutch is 5 with one or two dying before they fledge.

Worse picture was Diego "having his way" with Frieda as she ripped a freshly caught meal to shreds. right. in. front. of. the. camera.

All guts, no glory...

Romeo Morningwood said...

Isn't it horrifcic? It is so incomprehensible to us and yet Nature wastes nothing.
We can't help but put our Anthropomorphic spin on everything but OH MY GAWD that is gross.

I had the same feeling when I was a kid and learned that the King Of Beasts, male Lions, dislodge the reigning Pride alpha male(s) with anoying regularity and kill all of the existing cubs. This causes the females to go into estrus so that the New KING(s) can mate and start his own lineage.

What broke my little heart was how soon the females flipped over and started mating...the drive to secure their DNA is much stronger than our conceived emotional connections.

Deb Lacativa said...

Debra - I dunno, I think it would only be gross if the meal was one of the chicks. Owl Porn!

HE - I don't think enough credit is given to the lioness who line up for the New King. She who is first in line gets the first cubs and the prime cuts for herself. I long ago came to the conclusion that absolutely EVERYTHING we do can be ultimately traced to forwarding our DNA. All of societies niceties are just apologies for natural behaviour.