It has been a busy few weeks at Yew View. I was not on site last week, due to my commitments down in London at WWF and Bushnell. Whilst down in Chessington, for the Bushnell meet, I logged onto the cameras via my phone. Using iCatcher Console, I can access the cameras at Yew View and at home.
The owlets were growing fast and preening and dust bathing in the bark chippings in the box!
I had been keeping a close eye on my two tawny owlets. Their wing feathers were starting to form and I knew it would not be long before they were thinking about heading into the outside world.
Tawny owlets leave the nest site before they can fly properly and it is known as ‘branching’. They are often seen, sitting motionless, in trees during the day and parents will come and feed them at night. As this happens before they are really ready to fly, they often fall out of the tree and are found on the floor. If you find a tawny owlet on the floor, it is best to leave it, if it is safe to do so. They are capable of getting themselves back up in trees using their beak, talons and wings and parent swill feed them on the floor. Many end up unnecessarily in rescue centres as people, understandably, think they must be in trouble.
On logging onto the cams late on Thursday night, I could only see one owlet in the box. I checked in the morning and still just one! I texted DJ to let her know and she hurried outside early on Friday morning. There, on the floor, was owlet 1! The box is pretty high and he had fallen quite a way. His hissing and beak clicking indicated he was ok, but we could not leave him there with 6 dogs on site, badgers and foxes. Scooping him into a basket for safety, he pooed all over DJ, indignant that his new-found freedom had come to an end! We discussed what to do with him and decided the box was the safest place for him. Pete and Tom, the gardeners, popped the ladder up and returned him to the box. He did not looked overly impressed at being back in there!
We watched the cameras and he seemed fine. That evening, they were both very hungry. When the female came in, early evening with food, both owlets rushed to the entrance, climbing out onto the small platform. In the frantic battle for food, owlet 1 fell off the platform, managing to hang on with a few talons! The female turned and gave the vole in her beak to owlet 2 who was now back in the box. She then left, leaving owlet 1 hanging precariously underneath. He struggled heroically to get back on, but the single talon hooked on the platform was not enough and he fell……..