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Apple Tree Little Owls

A few weeks ago, I received a text from my farmer neighbour, to say he had an interesting nest in an old apple tree and would I like to film it. When I looked at the video he sent me, my heart skipped a beat..... it was difficult to tell, but the chicks looked like a bird of prey... possibly owl or kestrel... it was difficult to tell!

Of course, I was soon up the lane and in the lovely mature garden, in a small orchard area. Close to the house is an old, almost hollow apple tree, with a series of holes in the trunk. A quick peek inside and I could see three LITTLE OWL CHICKS!!!!

I think my neighbours were surprised to see how excited I was! The chicks are actually at ground level. The dog had been very interested in the site, so Chris had put a metal fence around the site to protect it. It looked like something had already tried to get in, so I think this was a sensible precaution. I set two trail cams facing the tree to try to see how the site was being used and which holes were used to gain access to the chicks.

As I drove home, my mind was buzzing on how I could get a wired cam up there. By the time I had driven the 5 mins back home, I had decided to take my little router and Birdsy cam up there. The signal is not very good up there, but it was good enough for the camera to record and possibly offer a live camera, albeit a bit flaky.

I was desperate to see what footage I could capture... and the first clips were amazing!

By the time I had checked the trail cam footage, I realised that only two of the holes were being used for accessing the site and one was the dominant hole.

Returning to the site, I placed a new trail camera and moved the Birdsy camera to look down into a small hole on the right. Placing it at an angle, I could just see the three chicks inside.

I nipped up in the week to collect the card from the trail cam on the entrance. I was very excited to upload the videos on the card... and wow! I had over 50 amazing clips of the adults in and out. Here are a selection of my favourites. This kind of footage is wonderful for monitoring the prey items being brought in. I have seen a lot of worms, some birds, as well as mice and voles.

There were more night time clips. In many cases, the owls just went straight down the hole, with little or no pause, but sometimes, they paused outside....

I love this one, where the owl is alarming at something in the garden....

I am nipping back tomorrow to collect the card from the trail camera again and to see why the Birdsy cam seems to have stopped.... fingers crossed I can get it all working again!

I lifted some still from the trail cam footage.. what stunning little birds these are!

A massive thank you to Chris for alerting me to the site and for Helen and Paul for letting me run power cables across their lawn and for putting up with me randomly appearing in the garden!


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