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Which Box Will She Choose?

After removing the huge hornet nest from the tawny nest box, I was keen to see if she returned to the box. The pair have been spending a lot of time at a second owl box we have at the other end of the Yew View site. I wondered if they were settling on using that second box as her original one had been inaccessible.

Within 2 days of me clearing the box, she was outside, having a look in. Seeing the box was now clear, it was not long before she popped back in to take a look around.

She was soon looking in and calling to her mate. This is a special call, always done when prospecting a box or nesting site... turn your volume's pretty special!

Over the next few nights, she kept returning to the box....

I knew she was getting really interested when she brought prey to the box. It is difficult to tell what bird she has caught... a songbird of some sort... possibly dunnock or maybe a robin. It is hard to tell in IR.

She took the prey into the box. It was the early hours of the morning. This was a regular occurrence last year, when she would bring prey in and then cache it there, returning as soon it was dark, to retrieve it.

She also brought a rat in...

On the 18th, she arrived early to the box and stayed all day. This is always a real treat, as the footage is in colour. There is a small light panel inside, on a sensor. The light comes on in the day and off at night.

This box was designed by me and I built it with friend, Dave Harper. I lined it with old wood and mounted two cameras inside. It has taken years of experimentation with cameras , lights, interiors and boxes, to finally get an image I am completely happy with. The only thing missing is the installation of a microphone into this camera. The dome versions of these cameras do have a mic output, but the mic needs powering, which is difficult as it would mean running another cable to the box. Darren at iCode has made me an adapter set-up, os i t will draw power from the Cat5 cable, but the camera is difficult to extract and has to be taken out of the box, all high up a tree!

I have chosen a few clips from the 10 hrs she spent inside the box. It is just fascinating to watch her and to revel in her beauty.....

The 'paddling' is a really good sign that she is serious about nesting here....

She will often clean and preen herself whilst in the box. Is it essential to keep plumage in good condition...

There is often a lot of invertebrate life inside the box.... I love this clip of her watching a woodlouse and a fly....

When I arrived on site this week, she was not in the box, so I was keen to replace the camera on the exterior of the box that had stopped working. I installed a new Hikvision bullet cam; the same model as on the kingfishers.

I was looking through the week's footage, when she arrived at the box, so I was able to get the zoom and focus right on the camera. It is going to be SO amazing if she chooses to nest here, with three cameras!

Keep your fingers crossed!

I'll finish with a few stills that I lifted from the colour footage... I can't stop looking at her...she is just SO beautiful!


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