When I turned up at Yew View this week, I was straight up to the office and I simply could not believe how much the owlets had grown in a week! We have three and the final egg never hatched… just as well I think as we have three healthy looking owlets, but one is definitely small than the other two. This was the last to hatch… less than 48 hrs after the first two, but at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to grabbing the food!
As you can imagine, the recorded footage from a whole week is quite epic to look through. When you’ve put so much into the planning and creation of a box like this, you don’t want to miss anything and I like to look through just about everything, albeit whizzing through on fast forward sometimes! I then try to select clips that sum up the week and its events and show how the owlets are growing, developing and interacting.
If you visit the ‘Nestenders’ page on my website, then all the videos I lift are embedded on the Tawny page. This blog will just show a selection.
The owlets have grown a lot over the last week. Here they are, a week old..
The daytime clips are harder to get, as the owlets are often underneath the female and they have been sitting very close to the cameras!
The female is anxious to leave to hunt as soon as the light starts to fade. This means I am starting to get colour footage of her outside the nest box…
I have been logging all the food brought in and there has not been a tremendous amount for three very hungry owlets. The male is coming in, but often only with worms. The female is now going out to hunt as well, but I have not seen any cached prey this week, so there have been no daytime feeds for the owlets. This means they are very hungry by the time night falls. The female returned with no food and it was obvious that the owlets were very hungry…
She can get very messy when tearing up prey and will often go and bathe, to clean herself off a little. here, she returned very wet, but empty ‘taloned’ and the owlets were not impressed.
When food does come in, there is an explosion of activity, with the two largest of the owlets seeming to take all the food. the third, smaller one is struggling to access the deliveries.
The male is bringing quite a lot of worms, but these are not enough to curb their hunger!
By the 8th, their fluffy white down is starting to show the new feathers appearing through. Their wing feathers are starting to pin and they have begun to preen. I would imagine it is quite itchy as those new feathers start to come through…
We did have a live frog delivery this week… one owlet snatched it and ate it just off camera….
The female will still break up large prey, but the owlets are now capable of eating quite considerable sized piece of food!
The female did return and take this prey from the largest owlet and break it up so all benefitted. over the last three years, I have recorded quite a few bird species being captured. This is when a wren was brought in…
Again, the largest owlet took this prey… and amazingly, it managed to eat the whole bird… in one go! Considering how young these are, it is quite incredible that they can not only eat a bird that size, but they can also digest it!
The size difference between the trio is obvious here and just grows as the larger owlets become more dominant…
Fights for food become more common….
By the 11th, the female was starting to get restless during the day as the owlets were hungry. A couple of times, in the afternoon, she went up to the entrance of the box, looking out as i she was considering going hunting early… but never actually did. It gave me the chance to get a good look at the owlets who now have their eyes open and are much more engaged with their surroundings..
They are becoming more mobile now, as they move around the box, stretching and looking around….
**UPDATE: After watching a remote feed today, I could not see the third owlet. On checking the recorded footage, Dwynwen on site, confirmed that it had died on the 12th. I am not surprised as it seemed to be struggling to access any of the food being bought in. The death of this owlet will mean more food for the remaining two owlets, hopefully ensuring their survival.**