05/17/13 Just want to let you know that I’m still editing the RSHA and BNOW banding videos and hope to make available soon. Also, those of you who are getting a Starr Ranch t-shirt through generously supporting our Birdathon, I just got some in and will ship early next week. Pete
05/05/13 Banding Today: I’m going to try to webcast the banding today. If so, it will begin around 1PM PST. If not, I will definitely have a video of all of it available shortly. If the cams are down or working erratically between now and this afternoon it’s likely because I’m trying to set up the webcast. Thanks. Pete
04/29/13 Banding Day I’m going to band these BNOW chicks on Sunday May 5th, 11AM-3PM. If you’d like to join me, details and sign up are HERE. Banding events like this one are also an important fundraiser for us. Hope you can make it! Pete
In the meantime this VIDEO is of the GHOW banding we did here on April 20th.
04/22/13 The Starr Ranch Birdathon is rapidly approaching (It’s next Saturday!) and I could use your help reaching our pledge goal. This is an important fundraiser for us – it helps keep the cams and everything else going. Any pledge amount would be really appreciated. Details are HERE. Thanks! Pete
04/20/13 A few notes about the demise of the 4th chick to hatch. This is not uncommon. You all have seen how the chicks hatch over the course of many days and given they grow quite rapidly the size difference among siblings can be significant and since the female does not feed each individual – i.e. makes sure that they all get something to eat – the youngest, and therefore smallest, chicks have to compete with larger chicks who more easily get in front during feeding and often get most of the food. The female did NOT kill the chick. There is absolutely no reason or stimulus for her to do that. Think about it – she goes through all that effort to lay the eggs and incubate. Why on earth would she then kill one? Last, she or perhaps one of the chicks may eat a dead chick. But that’s just efficient us of resources. Pete
04/19/13 GREAT HORNED OWL BANDING.
We recently discovered that a Great Horn Owl cavity in Bell Canyon previously thought to be inactive this year actually has two chicks in it. And they’re ready to band. Sorry for the short notice but we’ll be banding them tomorrow (Saturday, April 20) at 3PM. If you’d like to attend click HERE for details and to sign up.
If you’ve never seen young Great Horned Owls up close, I can assure you that they’re pretty amazing and not something many get to experience. I hope you can join me.
I just learned I’ll also have an adult rehabbed Great Horned Owl here for the banding so I’ll be able to show you some of their remarkable features.
04/17/13 Two troubleshooting tips:
1- If you’re having trouble viewing and want some help, please email me the browser and operating system you’re using, their versions, and a detailed description of the problem. Without this info there’s little I (or more likely Gretchen) can do to help and we’ll just have to reply asking for this info before we can.
2- If you’re hearing ads while watching any Starr Ranch cam I’m willing to bet you have another tab or browser window still open in the background on a site that plays ads. We do not advertise on Starr Ranch cams – or any where else on our website – except to display logos of certain vendors who are helping us to provide these cams. “Ad-free” at Starr Ranch is so you can hopefully have the best and most distraction-free experience watching, learning and sharing. On the other side, and as you might expect, this means it costs more to provide the cams and is one of the reasons we ask for your support. Pete
04/11/13 It’s Birdathon time! This is an important fundraising event for Starr Ranch where we ask for pledges of any amount for every species we see or hear in a 24hr period. This year we’ll be doing our Birdathon on April 27th. Please consider supporting our Birdathon so we can keep providing the nest cams and conducting all the education and habitat restoration programs at Starr Ranch. Click HERE for Birdathon details.
These Bald Eagles are just one of the more uncommon Orange County species we hope to be able to add to our Birdathon tally.
04/01/13 Sorry for the delay, but I want to say a huge !THANK YOU! to those who have mailed us support. It is so very much appreciated and, again, critical to us being able to keep these cams up. And also add more cams – I just put online a Red-shouldered Hawk nest cam. Again, thank you all so much and apologies for anyone I missed. Pete
Ann and Monica, Anonymous (several), Mr. and Mrs. Bernhard S, Bill and Mary Ann, Brian N, Carla W, Cecilia M, Christen and Ben, Mr. and Mrs. Chuck L, Claire S, Cynthia H, Cynthia S, David T, Mr. and Mrs. Edward S, Eileen H, Eileen M (every month), Ellen M (every month), Evelyn R, Gordon O, Hank and Karen, Jackson B, Janice K, Jean M, JoAnne P, Joel T, Mr. and Mrs. John H, Joyce R, Julie C-D, Kathleen C, Kathy C, Kay M, Linda A, Linda F, Liz and Willie, Neva W, Paul M, Penny S, Phillip G-J, Rebecca M, Richard P, Robert D, Ronald and Donna, Rosalie W, Roy and Ilse, Ruth M, Sandra A, Sandra S (Emma), Scott F, Sherry R, Steven L, Susan R, Tom R, Virginia M-J, Virginia P, Wendy M, Wilhelmina S.
03/28/2013 - While comments are temporarily down (and we continue to scramble for a fix), I wanted to thank all those who have donated to help “keep the wheels on” this site. As you might expect it takes a lot of time and money to keep it all working and your support has been critical. I want to give a special acknowledgment to all of you listed below, who have given online this month or last. Tomorrow I’ll list the people who’ve given through the mail recently. So, big thanks to recent online donors Adelaide, Alison S, Ann S, Anna H, Annette L, Audrey C, Barbara O and Barbara D, Beegies, Bernice D, Beth, Birdmom1, Bonnie, Bookwomyn, Carol S, Carl S, Catherine L, Cathy D, Chris S, Cici, DBW, Daniela Z, Daniella Marie, Dean S, Debra A, Delice F, Del, Dennis G, Diana W, Diane G, Diane M, Donald H, Eileen M, Elizabeth A, Ellen M, Erica S, Feather, Gina A, Glynette, Grahame, Henri, Hindi, Jack D, James N, Jane VK, Jean S, Jeanne L, Jeanneen C, Jeff A, Jenee G, Jill M, Jlese, JoAnne P, Johnnyjoe, John and Karyn, John C, Joy G, Joyce T, Kate M, Kathy S, Kathy G, Kika, Kristi B, Lila D, Linda T, Linda B, Lisa J, Lisa R, Lnmay, Lunar, Lynd B, Lynn P, Madeleine V, Marcia G, Margaret M, Marlene H, Melanie M, Melissa A, Michael C, Michele L, Mimi, Miriam S, MJ G, Moonseer, Natalie G, Pat S, Patricia M, Patti in Marin, Patricia L, Paul G, Paula P, Peggy C, Polaris, Popshib, Rachel_writer, Rebecca C, Rhonda L, Robert B, Rufus, S McGregor, Sally H, Sarah H, Scylla, Sheila C, Shirlee F, Skeptocat, Stephanie C, Susan F, Susan W, Suzi T, Svh77, Sweetles, Teresa G, Tess G, Tom B, Torre T, Trish G, Wildflower, Woodstock, Wynne and Yvette. (Apologies to anyone I might have missed.)
Thank you all so much. Pete
03/28/2013 - First hatchling emerged at around 12:30 last night. There is a lot of commentary, links to videos, etc…, on the Starr Ranch Facebook page. — Gretchen
03/26/13 - The CPU usage on this site is still getting hammered beyond acceptable limits with our web host (see below) so comments are temporarily shut down. Sorry about this but it’s either shut down the comments for now until we find a fix or the whole site could go down. Again, please bear with us as we try to remedy. Thanks. Pete
03/25/13 - When I looked on 3/22 Friday evening around 6PM, it appeared to me as if one egg had clearly pipped. However given how much time has passed without hatching, this was probably not the case. Anyway, if we assume incubation actually began in earnest on 2/23 or even 2/24, today would be about 30 days for the 1st egg. So let’s just all take a breath and see how things unfold. In the meantime, please pay close attention to what Gretchen has to say below about using this site. If everyone doesn’t cooperate, this could crash this site at a very critical time… Pete
03/25/13 Please Read - We’re experiencing a huge load on our server as hatching approaches. I’ve enabled page and browser caching to help compensate for this. A side effect is that other people’s comments may not show up for several minutes, even when you refresh your browser. Please be patient. Try to avoid refreshing more frequently than every 30 minutes.
03/14/13 Bandwidth Economy – Something you can do that’s simple and will help me a lot is when you aren’t watching just click on both videos and they should go right to the BNOW chick pic and a play button, effectively halting the stream. When you return, just click the play buttons. This has the same effect as shutting down the page and the videos, but has the added benefit of not having to reload the page to start watching again. This is faster for you and also reduces CPU usage required to reload a page.
I would add that what Gretchen, and Jorge, and others are doing to provide these views and the commenting capability is no small task. They, and other folks, are working really hard on this – because we know it’s something most will never get to see. We’re just trying to give all a relatively simple way of watching a truly wild situation unfold in the rawest sense and learn from it. Put another way – THIS is pure REAL LIFE “Reality TV”. Ain’t no director overseeing this script.
So please have some patience if you experience any problems watching (but do let me know about anything). In the meantime, trust me, we’re on it. And at some point it may come to what all of you also need to do to help us keep this page up. More on that later. Thanks, Pete
03/04/13 Here are the egg dates I got from Hibiscus (Thanks!) so far. If anyone has corrections or perhaps a tighter time frame for any, please email me and I’ll update. Pete
Egg 1 02/22/13 02:11pm
Egg 2 02/25/13 03:00pm – 02/27/13 04:00am (Duration of power outage)
Egg 3 02/28/13 06:00am – 06:50am
Egg 4 03/02/13 12:09pm – 12:36pm
Egg 5 03/05/13 02:42PM
03/01/12 Where’s the male today? While more likely when there are chicks, and especially older larger chicks, it’s not uncommon for the male to remain out of the cavity during the day. There are plenty of sheltered spots for him to roost. Of course, there’s always the possibility that something happened to him, but the probability of this is very low against him simply just roosting elsewhere for the day. Pete
02/23/13 Research Project for Today: Most raptors, including BNOWs, typically begin incubating eggs after the first egg is laid. And since it takes approx. 1.5 to 2 days for the next egg to be laid, hatching is sequential – first egg laid hatches first, second usually hatches at a later time that corresponds to how long after the first egg it was laid, and so on. But here are some questions: At what stage does an egg need to be incubated so that the embryo inside remains viable? For example, if it was just laid can it sit for days with out incubation starting because no development has begun? If it’s been incubated a week, how long can it be left “unincubated” before it will require renewed incubation to bring it to hatching? After 2 weeks? 3 weeks? A few days before hatching? I actually don’t know the answer to any of these questions. And I’m also being lazy…I’m asking you folks to do my homework for me! So, if anyone cares to research this and post some info, I’ll look at the comments later and put the best explanation here. In the meantime, a little more on what’s going on right now:
BNOW incubation is typically 28-30 days. While I expected this female to start incubating right away, that she hasn’t isn’t alarming to me, but interesting. I also have fairly high confidence that she will lay more eggs. And she initially exhibited behavior right after she laid this egg that clearly indicated she “knows” what to do – tucking it under her, pulling apart some old pellets, etc. – in fact she was just doing that as I typed. So my sense is that the probability that everything works out as it should is high. We just need to wait and see. Pete
2/18/13 An interesting development. You know the GHOWs we’ve been hearing close by? Well they decided to use an old RSHA nest which is three trees over and about 25′ away from the cavity. A female is currently sitting on eggs in it. Pete Bloom reports he’s had them as close together as three feet (!). In any case, there’s no reason to believe they both won’t successfully raise broods. But I suspect it will nonetheless be exciting as things unfold. Stay tuned… Pete
02/10/13 Some of you mentioned enjoying the pic of a BNOW chick that comes up briefly before the video feeds start. Linda Jones took this photo, as well as many other excellent wildlife pics. Check out some of her others at OC Wildlife Pete
01/25/13 Two things for today:
SPAM – There’s a type of spam that is fairly prevalent and that seems on it’s face innocuous. The spam filter on this page picks up most of it and it never makes it to the comments (I’m talking 100′s of attempts). But when one gets through it’s usually a comment that says nothing specific about the BNOWs but is often complimentary – something like: “I never thought of that! So great to see folks so knowledgeable about this subject.” And a tell tale clue is often one word having two letters reversed (like “sujbect” in my example). The spammers are looking for a response and especially for someone to click on the link associated with their screen name or somewhere else found in the comment. Doing this is where you can really get the full brunt of the spammers nastiness.
In any case, there was one on this site yesterday, was called to my attention, and I deleted it. Just asking that you watch out for these and ignore them.
PTZ – While the PTZ cam is a good one, it is not designed for outdoor use. Outdoor/weatherproof PTZ cams I have found are in the range of $2,500; the current one cost about $700. So that’s a major reason it’s not an outdoor cam. However, I retrofitted the current PTZ so that’s it’s fairly weatherproof. But sometimes damp/rainy weather can affect it and do two things: 1) Fog the lens and 2) Cause the PTZ control to be erratic. E.g. if you were watching when I moved it from the limb to the cavity you may have noticed a lot of “overshoot” on zooming and panning. That’s because when I wanted it to stop it wouldn’t… Experience tells me this behavior is unique to damp or wet days and rectifies itself when things dry out. In any case, I moved it because I wanted the lens to point downward to try to minimize any water getting in through the lens when it’s normally pointed upward towards the limb. Pete
01/08/13 Huell Howser passed away yesterday. For those who didn’t know Huell and his various television shows, he was a California icon and brought into thousands of living rooms shows about many of California’s unique, interesting, and often unknown people, places and activities. He visited Starr Ranch in 2011 (I just updated the link to the show in the right column) and was just the nicest, most engaging person – the kind that makes even total strangers completely at ease in his presence. You also might want to check out Audubon California’s blog for more on Huell. Pete
10/29/12 An opportunity to visit and help us out at Starr Ranch!
From Sandy: Help us remove streamside weeds along Bell Creek! Please join our interns, Andrew and Maranda, for a half day of weed work on 15 Saturdays from November through June. Click HERE for the PDF flyer.