Marsh rats, mice and small birds according to our owlets. One of the parents lands on a branch close to the nest or nook and feeds both owlets. (Please see prior posts on how we/they got from the original nest, to a temporary nest, to the Live Oak nook). The adult owl holds the prey down with a talon, strips off small bits of ‘meat’ with its beak and feeds it to the little ones. Owls do not regurgitate to feed their young. More about that next post.
In the top photo, Mom delivered a headless rat to the area to the left of the nook. This seems to be the dining area of the owlets’ new abode. The one with the rat, the larger of the two owlets, appears to be saying “Thanks, Mom!” and also looks like he is not too sure about the WHOLE rat thing. And the little one on the right? “Where’s mine?” looks a bit envious and kind of pouting and well, fuming. “Really? He gets to eat the WHOLE thing?”
Mom came back later with another rat and fed MiniMe. In the meantime, Big Sib ate his first whole rat WHOLE. This apparently is the owl version of graduating from one Gerber stage to the next! Regarding the ‘headless’ rat: we speculate that either 1) mom really likes the head best or 2) the skull is too difficult for the owlets to process.