Welcome to Alessondra's Great Horned Owl Cam, Live from Oklahoma City.
Alessondra's thrilled that you've visited the Ustream feed dedicated to "Mr. & Mrs. Tiger" and their nest on our second-story planter ledge. As homeschooling parents who believe every experience in life has educational value, we've set up cameras to help give our daughters a better view of the entire experience, and we happily welcome the rest of the world to join us. Learn more about why we do this and check out our complete FAQ and past nest info below.
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Season 4 Nest News (Last Updated March 26, 2015 at 4:35:07 PM CDT):
NAME**LAID DATEPIP DATEHATCH DATEE1 - Java1.7.15 @ 3:54am CST2.8.14 @ 10:31AM2.10.15 @ 7:51PME2 - Malaya*1.10.15 @ N/A2.10.15 @ 7:25AM2.12.15 @ 12:21PME3 - Caspian 1.13.15 @ 1:44pm CST2.14.15 @ 9:172.15.15 @ 8:28 PM
• *Egg 2 was laid overnight of 1.10.15 while cam was off air. Official time unknown.
• This is the 6th time eggs have been laid here
• Season 1: 2 Eggs / 1 Hatch | Season 2: 2 / 2 | Season 3: 3 / 3
• Same nest location as last 2 years, but new pot & organic soil mix.
See all of Alessondra's Season 4 Video Updates on Vimeo!
About The Hosts
We are a young family of four, with two daughters, Alessondra (9) & Giavauna (4) Deziray home schools Alessondra (and will Giavauna, eventually, as well), co-leads a women's ministry, and is a Physician Assistant by profession. Jeff is commercial real estate developer and owner of a company that builds new homes in Oklahoma City. He loves technology and CrossFit. In addition to her home schooling, Alessondra attends classes at The Academy of Classical Christian Studies in Oklahoma City, while Giavauna is enjoying the pre-school life. The Clicks are 15-year members of Lifechurch.tv, and enjoy involvement both at church and within the community.
Alessondra's OKC Great Horned Owl Cam In the News
Interested in doing a story? Contact us.
OETA, the OK affiliate for PBS, recently aired a feature story about the OKC Owl Cam.
Doing a photo shoot and interview for
Edmond Outlook magazine.
Congrats To Our Season 4 Hatch-Watch Contest Winners!
Prior to the deadline, over 300 viewers submitted their guesses for the hatch time of each egg. The closest guesser for each egg's hatch, determined by chick-out-of-shell won one of these original painted portraits of the Season 4 owlets, by PAWS 'n Portraits!
Original hand-painted portraits of Tiger owlets.
Artwork © 2015, PAWS 'n Portraits
Where is this nest?
The nest is in a fiberglass planter box atop an iron planter ledge under upper story windows of the front our home in NW Oklahoma City. It is one of three planter boxes on the ledge, all of which are approximately 12” deep, by 12” tall, and 24” wide. They are filled with an organic mix of vermiculite, peat moss, and mushroom compost. This mix was chosen both for good growing conditions, as well as a healthy, chemical-free soil for the owls. (http://www.flickr.com/photos/okcowlcam/8652802377/“ title=)Tigris (1 of 2 owlets from 2013) perches
atop the ledge where the nest is.
When were the eggs laid and when did they hatch?
See the 2014 Nest News above for detailed info on lay, pip, and hatch dates.
Why is she called “Mrs. Tiger”?
When Alessondra first saw her, Mrs. Tiger was sitting on her bedroom window planter ledge. She had been hooting for a few minutes, and she came and got Jeff, who doubtingly came up and slowly tilted the shutters open to see if anything was there. To Jeff’s surprise and Alessondra’s amazement, they were merely 12” from a beautiful owl who had her back to them. The owl slowly rotated her head around, looked at them both, then silently dropped out of site from the ledge and flew off. One of the first things Alessondra said was “Her feathers look like a tiger!”. It was then she decided to start calling her Mrs. Tiger. After learning more about GHOs, Alessondra learned that her assessment wasn’t an unusual one…Native Americans often refer to GHOs as “The Flying Tiger”.
How many years has she nested here?
This the 4th consecutive year she has “brooded,” or laid on the eggs. However, she has laid eggs here for 6 years, not brooding the first 2 years. We believe this is due to possibly not having been mature enough at that point.
How old are Mr. & Mrs. Tiger?
We can’t know for certain, but based on what we’ve observed, we are certain they are at least seven years old. Mrs. Tiger has laid eggs 6 times at our house. The first two times, she did not brood (incubate) them. We believe it’s possible that she was not yet mature enough to brood eggs. However, we know that GHOs typically aren’t able to lay eggs until at least a year old. So assuming she hasn’t laid any prior eggs before she laid them at our house, she would have been at least one when she laid the first eggs, and has done so six consecutive years here, making her at least seven years old. We would assume Mr. Tiger is of similar age, though there’s no way to confirm that.
How long does it usually take for GHO eggs to hatch?
The average incubation period for GHO eggs is 33 days. This puts the first egg’s likely hatch +/- Feb 5th. Eggs hatch asynchronously, and thus will likely hatch in order they were laid.
Have there been past owlets?
Yes, in 2012, two eggs were laid, but only one of them successfully hatched. Alessondra named that owl, “Tiger Lily”. The non-viable egg was carried off by Mrs. Tiger shortly after the hatch failed. “Tiger Lilly” successfully fledged in March of 2012. In 2013, both eggs successfully hatched, and Alessondra named them, “Tigris” and “Teegra.” They both successfully fledged in March of 2013. (You can watch video of Teegra’s cinematic, lone fledge two days after Tigris fledged, here.) In 2013, The Tigers had three owlets, whom Alessondra named Saber, Bengal, and Amur. Amur became known as "Amuricle," explained below both hatched and successfully fledged.
Why 3 eggs this year when in the past only 2?
It is said that the number of eggs laid a GHO is related to food supply. The better the food supply (mainly rodents, rabbits, and other small birds) the more potential eggs. It is likely that seasonal conditions this Summer and Fall led to a larger clutch of eggs this year than in prior years when the food supply was not as abundant.
Why was last year's Amur hatch at first announced as non-viable, and why is the owlet called "Amuracle"?
Even though Egg 2 was laid 3 days after Egg 1, it pipped less than 24 hours after Egg1. This is 2 days sooner than average. Egg 1 hatched right on schedule, within 48 hours of pipping. After 48 hours from Egg 2's pipping, it had not hatched, nor did it show any sign of advancement, movement, or sound. All of these are evidence of an active hatch. With tens of thousands of viewers awaiting Egg 2's hatch, and over a thousand active chatters, many were asking questions of concern about Egg2. We conferred with our go-to experts behind the scenes and decided it was time to face the likely facts: that Egg2 was not going to hatch. We announced that it was likely unviable.
Later that night, Mrs. Tiger was exhibiting behavior similar to past hatches, and much to both our surprise and our viewers' Egg 2 had successfully hatched! Alessondra had chosen the name "Amur" as one of the possible names for this year's owlets. She decided it was the perfect name for Egg 2, and aptly nick-named it "Amuracle" because of its dramatic entrance into the wild.
Where do they get their food?
There is a golf course in the neighborhood, so there is plenty of open space and natural terrain full of small animals. There is also a large commercial parcel of property a few hundred yards from our home where rodents and rabbits tend to flourish. Hunting is taken care of by Mr. Tiger, who will often deliver the food directly to Mrs. Tiger on the nest during brooding, who will usually leave the nest briefly to eat. Just prior to hatching, Mr. Tiger will bring additional food to build the “pantry”, which is a stockpile of food for Mrs. Tiger to use to immediately begin feeding the new owlets upon hatch. As the owlets grow, Mr. Tiger will increase his frequency of delivery, and eventually Mrs. Tiger will join him on nightly hunts as food demand increases. Food delivery is always at night, though feeding of the owlets can take place throughout the day with food from the pantry.
Why would they choose to nest here?
We can never know for sure, but observation has led many to conclude this is, albeit an unlikely, but very strategic choice for a nest location. It is atypical in that it is an urbanized setting, surrounded by human activity ranging from kids playing outside just feet away, to normal neighborhood traffic. However, the nest enjoys nearly 60% shelter, as it rests inside an in-set window box protected both by the wall of the house and the eve of the roof just above it. The color of the house provides potential camouflage very similar in color to their markings. From a strategic standpoint, it is almost fully protected from the predators they are up against in a typical nesting site. No roaming animals could access the nest, leaving it open only to other larger birds of prey, or the occasional curious human landlord.
Doesn’t the light at night bother her?
The house is well-lit at night, and just over the nest is an 8w LED-based recessed can light under the eave. It is not as bright as it appears, as the camera settings and settings in the streaming software are adjusted to extreme levels at night for optimal view of the owls. The owls spend lots of time on our cul-de-sac in the late Summer and Fall during their courting phase. They are not only very aware of the lighting around the house, but they have numerous other options close by that do not have light. Given this is the 5th year Mrs. T has chosen to lay eggs here, it’s apparent that the light is of little concern to her, and behavior suggests that both she and Mr. T are normalized to it.
Can she see in the window?
No. The window is screened on the inside by blackout curtains and window draperies, so any rare activity within the room goes relatively unnoticed by her. She sits in the nest about a foot below the bottom of the glass. Often when it appears that she is looking up into the window, we've come to realize that she is using the window to see in its reflection behind her. There have been numerous examples of when she has become alert, looked at the window and traced movement that was proven to be Mr. T's reflection as he arrived.
Do you use the room adjacent to the nest?
The room just inside the windows over her nest is what we call “The Theater Room.” When the Tigers aren’t actively nesting here, it’s where the occasional family movie night is held, where sporting events are viewed, and where Deziray often exercises. Since it’s not an essential room, while the Tiger Family is nesting, we restrict access to it, limiting it to only essential trips to the tech closet to reboot the camera server, or, if Mrs. Tiger is off the nest, Alessondra and Giavauna can come up to catch a close-up, real-life view of the nest.
What kind of equipment are you using for the stream?The stream is run from a Mac Mini running Boinx's BoinxTV live video production software. The stream is output in 1080p directly to Ustream.tv by a Taradek VidiU, a video encoding device that has a hardwired uplink to a high-bandwidth internet connection. (Note: for connection reliability, the stream is often sent at 720p.) We have several cameras strategically placed, which are a combination of Logitech C920 & C615 HD Webcams as well as two robotic BCC950 Conference Cams by Logitech. *Mission Control for The OKC Owl Cam*Since only 2 USB cameras can be connected at once to the hardware, all cameras are connected to separate 30-meter amplified USB cables that run to our "tech closet" where the Mac Mini is, out of site from the nest. The active cameras can be switched to and from, along with combined picture-in-picture and zoomed shots thanks to BoinxTV.
If one of the other cameras proves to be a better angle, Jeff can easily unplug one camera for another, since they are all wired and ready for use at any moment. To enhance the quality of picture, Jeff uses Webcam Settings, which is an app that hacks the video feed from webcams and allows precise controls of the various settings of the video. This is especially useful in providing a better view of the owls at night in low-light situations. Jeff uses a similar utility to control the robotic cams remotely via software.
How do you include the weather data in the stream, and where do you get the data? *The OKCOwlCam's Ambient The weather data shown in the live stream is collected about 20' from the nest using an Ambient Weather WS-2080A Wireless Home Weather Station, mounted out of site on the roof of the home. It sends comprehensive weather data wirelessly to a receiver in the control room, which then feeds the data into the Mac Mini via USB port. Every minute, the Mac reads the data using the WeatherSnoop app, which updates our Weather Undergound PWS (KOKEDMON57) page, as well as feeds the data to a video layer in the BoinxTV video software that runs the stream, showing viewers real-time weather conditions at the nest.
Do you do anything to help prevent owlets from falling off the ledge, like putting up a net?In Season 2, it appeared necessary to install a thin, bird-friendly netting tightly around the outside of the iron ledge to prevent any accidental falls between the balusters. After a risky job installing it under the ire of protective parents, it proved to be needless. The owlets didn't roam outside of the pot until they were agile enough and too big to easily fit through any gaps. Once they were mature enough to "rail" (walk along the top rail of the ledge), they often snagged their talons in the netting, and once even becoming entangled. The netting also tended to amass their defecation, which Jeff wasn't cool with. (http://www.flickr.com/photos/okcowlcam/8653856554/in/set-72157633257111896“ title=)A glimpse of the "bird block" netting
and the aftermath from Tigris & Teegra
Why do you guys do this?
This began as a way to give our older daughter a close-up view of an owl nest that fortunately was made at our house. Three years ago, Ustream made it possible for Jeff to set up a camera inside the window overlooking the nest so that Alessondra could watch the owls from the computer downstairs. By streaming it on Ustream, the "OKC Owl Cam" gathered an unexpected following. Over the past 3 years, the stream has gained millions of viewers, and has received news coverage both locally and world-wide.
We are not owl experts, and we have done nothing to attract these birds. We are not academics, and this is not meant to be a formal educational environment. In fact, just as important to us as the learning experience is the community that results from the experience. Therefore, while the information provided here is well-researched, we can't guarantee it to be complete or wholly accurate.
We have committed to teaching our daughters how to learn from every experience we are blessed with in life. The information you find here is a culmination of what we've learned over the past few years, along with numerous contributions from viewers, our chat moderators, and people very knowledgeable about owls or birds in general. We do regularly seek the council of trusted experts as to how we can ensure the best outcome for the Tiger Family, but our philosophy is to not only remain as welcoming hosts to both the owls and you, but more importantly to remain simple observers of nature's best lessons learned through this opportunity.
Jeff, Alessondra, Deziray, & Giavauna
last year at Alessondra's 8th birthday party
which was owl-themed.
Despite many offers and opportunities to do so, we (Jeff & Deziray) are committed to never commercializing or benefiting financially in any way from this unique opportunity. While we've received many intangible blessings through this experience, we view it as a unique blessing that began with an effort to educate our daughters on many levels, and has resulted in inviting a few million of our newest friends to join us in learning as well. We hope you enjoy.
How does this experience affect your family?
There are plenty of pros and cons to this experience, but the pros overwhelmingly outnumber the cons. The positive aspects of it begin with the amazing and unique experience that was first thought of as an educational experience for our daughters, but quickly turned into one for us, and millions of other people. We have “met” thousands of people through chat, and made dozens of new close friends. The community that as developed through this experience is perhaps the most rewarding part of it.
The challenges include preserving as much of an undisturbed environment for the Tiger Family as best we can despite all of the opinions expressed about what we should or shouldn’t be doing. We do everything we can to do what’s best for the owls within reason, and do so according to the guidance we receive from experts we have access to. A few other challenges include paying almost constant attention to the cameras and stream to insure it stays up and provides an optimal view, keeping everyone up to date via the stream page, Facebook page, and Twitter feed, having to restrict access to the room of the house where the nest is, the increased traffic of interested visitors who drive by our house to catch a glimpse of the owls, and trying to live an otherwise normal, busy life amidst all of this.
GHO & OKCOwlCam Glossary**apteria** - places on owls' bodies where no feathers grow, noticeably on the side of the neck, wingpits, and down the middle of the front of their body. (See also "Brood Patch")
asymmetrical - the off-center position of the ears on either side of the head; right ear is typically set higher in the skull and at a slightly different angle. Tilting/turning the head helps the owl pinpoint the exact direction of the sound's source.
beak clicking - owls can make clicking noises with their tongues, often as part of a threat display
branchers - when the owlets start roaming onto nearby branches at 6-7 weeks. In Mrs. T’s nest, onto the nearby planter box! (See also "railing")
brood - a verb: the act of keeping the chicks warm by covering them with feathers. NOT the same as incubation. (See also "Incubation")
brood patch - a sparsely feathered area on the belly; the almost bare skin has a higher density of blood vessels than other parts of the skin, providing a direct source of warmth when in contact with the eggs.
cast - a verb: throwing up a pellet that consists of fur and bones from a previous meal. (See also "hork")
clutch - a full set of eggs laid by a bird.
crepuscular - means most active at dawn and dusk. GHOs aren’t strictly nocturnal (active at night), they are generally more crepuscular.
facial disk - a concave, flat, forward-facing facial structure ringed with distinctive feathers to help funnel sound to a bird's ears for more acute hearing. A facial disk is a key field mark for many owls.
feak - a verb, as in feaking: wiping the bill on a branch or perch after eating to get the food bits off the bill.
fledge - fledge, a verb: as in when young owlets are beginning to fly: fledging.
fledglings - when young owlets are beginning to fly. It takes practice, so this process takes time and they are very vulnerable.
flutings - comb-like or fimbriate (fringe-like) leading edge of the primary wing feathers effectively muffles the sound of the air rushing over the wing surface and allows the Owl to fly silently.
gular fluttering - or panting are terms for when an owl opens its mouth and puffs its throat in and out to cool off when hot or stressed.
hork - a verb: the “OKC Owl Cam” term for throwing up a pellet that consists of fur and bones from a previous meal. (See also “cast”.)
incubation - the act of keeping the eggs warm enough for embryos to develop into chicks. Done by females in GHOs.
mantling - hunching over a recent kill by standing over and spreading the wings slightly to try to hide it from other potential predators. Not necessarily seen at the nest, but perhaps w/owlets in play.
nictitating membrane - also referred to as the third eyelid. It is a milky blue (in GHOs) translucent membrane that blinks separately from the regular eyelids. It protects and moistens the eye.
owlet - the term for a young owl; can be nestlings (young ones on the nest) or fledglings (ready to leave the nest or having recently left the nest & learning to fly).
pellet - a dense, compact ball of indigestible material such as the fur, bones and teeth of an owl's prey. Owls cannot pass that material through their digestive tracts and instead regurgitate pellets several hours after eating in order to make room for the next meal.
rictal bristles - hair-like densely packed modified feathers packed around the beak... like whiskers. They help the owl when doing something close up, like eating or feeding owlet.
scapular - shoulder; it provides a foundation for the attachments of the muscles that move the wing.
talons - the claws on the ends of each toes (four on each foot). They are the equivalent of toenails and grow continuously , self-sharpening. (See zygodactyl). Talons can exert a force of almost thirty pounds PSI (per square inch)!
unihemispheric - literally, “half the brain is asleep and the other half is awake;” gives them the ability to watch for enemies and still catch up on their sleep.
ventriloquial - literally, “the art of projecting one's voice so that it seems to come from another source;" the owls' hoots that are projected from their throat not their beak.
zygodactyl - having two toes projecting forward and two projecting backward
Alessondra's Owl Cam is G-Rated.
Alessondra, along with dozens of classes, and hundreds of kids watch this during and after school. Please keep that in mind. When discussing biological aspects of owls (ie. mating, reproduction), please use well-chosen, proper terminology. Be respectful and kind in tone to each other, and avoid divisive or insensitive topics, especially politics, race, and orientation.
This is a feed about Great Horned Owls
Keep the chat reasonably on-topic, especially when the pace of chat is high. Do not chat IN ALL CAPS, and please don't overuse emoticons. Do not use chat to promote products, companies, or other sites*. Please PM a Mod if you have a site that you would like them to consider sharing with the chatters. When chat volume is at a manageable pace, we encourage discussion and sharing of other owl/bird-related feeds and resources. Please use your best judgment and follow the mods' direction in this regard.
Moderators rule the roost.
Moderators have the ultimate authority over chat and reserve the right to ban unruly chatters, slow or pause the chat, and moderate links as they see fit. Absolutely no arguing with the mods, or you're subject to immediate ban from the chat. Remember the moderators are volunteers. They are here to welcome everyone and answer questions as best they can, but may not be able to get to every question.
Enjoy, Learn, and Share.
Remember that this community and experience is a blessing and privilege for us all. Please do not abuse it. Most importantly, learn and enjoy. Feel free to tell others about the feed, especially on Facebook and Twitter. The more, the merrier.
Our Chat Moderators
This amazing group of individuals voluntarily directs our chat with a warm welcome, an encouraging tone, and a sincere desire to educate and serve those who have questions. Every moderator does this on a voluntary basis, and does far more than "just chatting." Additional help they provide includes compiling helpful information for the viewers and chatters, as well as to be integrated into the OKC Owl Cam page. A few have even, literally, helped clean up the aftermath of the nest at the Click house.
Alessondra strikes a pose with
a few friends and Chat Moderators at her
"Owlessondra" 8th Birthday Party.
Cathy1979 is from Niagara Falls NY. She loves all animals and loves to learn new stuff everyday.
COGAL is a retired interior designer from Colorado who loves to travel, ski, read, and attend hockey and baseball games. She spends time with her hubs, son, and two retrievers...and of course, The Broncos!
Crazyhorse2002 is a native american storm chaser from Hornell, NY, and loves all things dealing with wildlife. He keeps watch of the conditions for the OKCOwlCam and is the first to notify us of less than ideal conditions.
CrossCheckMe lives in CT with her growing family. She is an avid hockey fan and loves sharing her love of the "Tiger" family with her son.
Debbiemango is a lover of all birds but it is the Owl that stole her heart. When not watching owls, she likes to spend time with her bird "Pickles" and texting with her son, who is stationed in Japan. She also enjoy crafting owls and reading books about owls.
DezirayClick is Alessondra's Mom. Besides modding the chat, she home schools our daughters and co-leads a Women's Christian Ministry.
Gsogirl lives in North Carolina. Her wildlife cam obsession began in 2011 with the Decorah Eagles. She enjoys chatting and learning new information from our chatters. She loves the quote, "Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened." --Anatole France
Hundon1 lives in a small village in the east of England with her hubby and dog, Dottie (by name and nature). She has two grown up sons, and has been watching owl cams since becoming hooked on Molly & McGee in 2011.
irolRocks lives outside of Flint MI, (please don`t hold it against her) and was raised on a farm. She enjoys the outdoors, loves all animals and likes to hang out with the peeps at OKC. She has 1 son, 1 cat, 1 horse and 1 very spoiled Bull Terrier.
JeffClickOKC is a mod, but his more important job is to keep the feed up and running. He tends to obsess about insuring you viewers have the optimal view, but he's more obsessed with the ladies in his life, Deziray, Alessondra, and Giavauna.
JudyRameior lives in eastern MA, and started watching wildlife cams in spring 2011. She quickly became hopelessly owl-dicted.
Kb7get (Tom) lives in Idaho. He serves as a back-up Mod.
Ken1942k lives in Dunedin, New Zealand. His grandchildren, and birdcam watching, keep him busy in retirement.
Morlach lives in Adelaide, South Australia, grew up on dairy farm so has been around animals all his life. Loves watching wildlife cams of all types from Eagles to Owls to Panda Bears. Is an IT geek in real life and loves playing with his gadgets.
NatureJess is a stay-at-home mom to a beautiful 8 month old little girl. She lives with her husband and daughter on the south shore of Long Island NY. She's a nature lover, hence her mod name. She hopes to teach her daughter all about nature, how to preserve it and keep it safe, and to handle it with great respect. She's also on a mission to see 3 wild animals; Snowy Owl, Bald Eagle and a Moose.
Okieemma is a librarian by day, owl watcher by night, & lover of nature always! she is very excited to be part of this owlsome experience!
Ottawalee was initiated into birding very early by her mother, and was introduced to owls in particular by an Inuit artist/client who stitched me a wall hanging with not one but two "ookpic" [snow owls] for a double measure of spiritual guidance and protection. Participating as a moderator with this site is yet another pleasurable involvement she has enjoyed as a lover of birds and nature.
polo7422 lives in SE Michigan and has a great love of our wildlife friends, and thinks that live stream cameras are a very informative way to learn about nature.
Rodakae Is a semi-retired house wife who lives in FL in the winter and Ohio, her home state, in the spring and summer. She enjoys crochet, swimming, any sport, especially her grandson's baseball. She also enjoys golf and spending time, as much as possible, with her family and her Jack Russell, "Mac" who makes me laugh at least once a day.
Tampabayrabbit lives in St. Petersburg, Florida with her Chef Hubby and a Pekingese, named "Mookie." She has a great love for owls and is completely addicted to them and her Hubby says that's an understatement!
Truk is our "technical mod." Involved in the bird-cam community on a broader scale, he's been an active supporter of OKCOwlCam for a couple of years. This year, however, he's developed our "Tiger_Bot" mod, which is an automated, informational bot participating in chat to help the mods provide automated information to chatters.
2013 Photos & Videos