Tawny Dramas at Yew View

It has been a bit of a stressful week at ‘Tawny Central’ at Yew View this week… more so for DJ, as I was not on site until Wednesday! All was well after I left last week. The three owlets were all doing well and lots of food was being brought in by the male and female. The female was sporadically leaving the owlets during daylight hours, sometimes returning mid afternoon with prey. With the temperature still quite low, they spend lots of time snuggled together, with the owlets still covered with a soft down. Their adult plumage is start starting to appear… #gallery-18078-3 { margin: auto; } #gallery-18078-3 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; text-align: center; width: 50%; } #gallery-18078-3 img { border: 2px solid #cfcfcf; } #gallery-18078-3 .gallery-caption { margin-left: 0; } /* see gallery_shortcode() in wp-includes/media.php */

Prey has been pretty much all wood mice, rats and worms…. a lot of worms!! One night the male (mainly) brought in over 20 worms… I don’t know where he is finding them all!

When the female is not in the box, she roosts nearby. A squirrel made an appearance on top of the box one morning and she was straight in, to scare it off…

As the days passed, the owlets became bolder and more competitive, each trying to get the food. They know where it comes from and as soon as one of the adults alights on the platform, they all launch themselves at the entrance hole. The chippings inside the box have built up by the entrance, meaning there is only a small 15cm or so height. The owlets are now big enough to reach out to try to get the food….

It was this eagerness to get the food that led to the first owlet falling out… too early really to leave the box….

Within 6 hrs, the second owlet also fell out, although it was the female deciding not to give up the rat prey that caused this accident…

I received a phone call on my way to work, from DJ, saying she had found them on the floor, but they looked ok.  Tawny owlets branch out into the trees before they can fly. Their strong beak and feet mean they can clamber around, even climbing up the trunk of a tree to get into the branches. It is not unusual to find them on the floor. The parents will usually be nearby and will return to feed them. Due to the cold temperatures and the dogs on site, we decided to put them in a basket during the main part of the day and to then return them to a tree early evening. I got an update later to say the parents had chased off a magpie and fed the owlets.

The next morning, DJ returned outside to check on them. Sadly, one owlet was on the ground and had become entangled in ‘sticky’ weed. It had died, probably of cold as it was a wet and cold night. The second owlet was also on the floor. We decided to dry it off and allow it to recuperate before I could come to site to put it back in the box. It was fed some worms to keep it going.

As soon as I was on site, I decided to return the owlet to the box. It looked too small to be out yet and, when I watched back the footage, I could see that it did not really choose to leave…. it had actually fallen out. The owlet was alert and looked well. Wrapped in a tea towel and tucked down the front of my coat, I climbed up a ladder back to the box, as the female was not in there.

I reached out and placed this little guy back into the box, with its remaining sibling. I felt this would give it the best chance of survival in the wild.

Its sibling seemed surprised to see it back in the box and I kept a close eye on it from the cameras….

Within about half an hour, there was this rather lovely reunion between the two before they snuggled up together … I breathed a sigh of relief!

Later in the afternoon, the female returned and this little guy was hungry after his adventures!

The female was looking out in the afternoon…. I like to think she was pleased to have at least one of her babies back safely.

It was sad to think we had lost one of these lovely owlets, especially as it looked so well. It was so perfect…… another few days and warmer , drier conditions and it might have survived. #gallery-18078-5 { margin: auto; } #gallery-18078-5 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; text-align: center; width: 33%; } #gallery-18078-5 img { border: 2px solid #cfcfcf; } #gallery-18078-5 .gallery-caption { margin-left: 0; } /* see gallery_shortcode() in wp-includes/media.php */

The two remaining owlets are doing really well… my heart misses a beat every time they launch themselves at the entrance…. #gallery-18078-6 { margin: auto; } #gallery-18078-6 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; text-align: center; width: 50%; } #gallery-18078-6 img { border: 2px solid #cfcfcf; } #gallery-18078-6 .gallery-caption { margin-left: 0; } /* see gallery_shortcode() in wp-includes/media.php */

Another few days and I will be happier about these youngsters moving out into the trees as they will be approximately the same age as last year’s pair who both survived.

I will be replacing this box next year as it is falling apart. It will be virtually the same… but deeper next time to try to avoid such incidents!

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