top of page

Dead Tawny Owl Find

This morning, whilst out walking Wren, I spotted something on the field, close to my home. It was a dead tawny owl. By the condition of it, it had died last night and, by the looks of it, had been carried to the field by a fox. It smelt strongly of fox as they had scent marked on it. It was a good weight and had just a grazing of the shoulder but I could not see any other marks on it. Perhaps it had been killed by a glancing blow from a car. I once found another dead tawny on the wide verge of an A road near me, some years ago. I think the owl was hunting the verge and got hit by a car or lorry.

It is always sad to find a creature dead, but I also think it offers a rare chance to have a look at a creature up close, in a way that is difficult in the wild. I spend a lot of hours having close up views of the tawnies at Yew View, on my live cameras, but it is a completely different experience to actually see and touch one.

Tawnies have incredible hearing. Their ears are positioned behind their facial disc, at slight angles to each other to help them pinpoint even the tiniest of sounds.....

I also took a selection of photographs. I must have spent an hour looking at this bird. The plumage is so gorgeous and I was totally fascinated with its legs and talons....

I am hoping there is not a female on eggs somewhere, who now does not have a mate. This bird did not have a brood patch, so was not incubating. A brood patch is where they remove the feather to ensure skin contact with the eggs.

A sad loss, but this body will not be wasted. I will keep some of the feathers and then bury the body and allow it to decompose naturally. I will then clean and keep the skull and other parts of the skeleton to use in my education work.


bottom of page