Owlet dramas, as we go from three to two….
As you can imagine, there is a tremendous amount of footage to look through each week at Yew View. It is impossible to save everything and almost impossible to choose highlights from each week! I try to lift footage that shows interesting behaviour or moments that sum up the rapid growth and development of these owlets.
We started the week with three owlets, but I had noticed last week, that the youngest and smallest of the three was not strong enough to fight for the food coming in and each day it was getting weaker.
On the 11th April, this owlet died and was quickly moved to one side by the female….
That evening, this owlet became supper for its siblings. It may seem harsh, but with hungry mouths to feed, it would be a waste not to make use of what small amount of flesh was on this owlet. IA sad moment, but something that happens regularly with owls. If there is not enough food being supplied to sustain 3 healthy young, then better two survive than three not quite be as strong as they could be…
The remaining two have gone from strength to strength and are growing and changing fast. You will see from the following clips that their fluffy white down is now slowly being replaced with the brown plumage. They seem to preen a lot as if this new emergence of feathers is somewhat itchy and uncomfortable. The female is still staying with them during the day and she leaves as soon as the light starts to fade, meaning I get some great views of the owlets on their own in the box.
This has to be one of my most favourite of clips! Snuggled deep inside the feather duvet that is its mother, this owlet looks so cosy….
We have had a variety of food being brought into the young, with a couple of birds this week. They always seem somewhat difficult to swallow!
With the days getting longer, it is fantastic to get some footage in daylight and in colour. The female often returns early morning and will leave before its dark, and it is lovely to see her in full colour!
I think this is the first time I have filmed both male and female in daylight … and with prey. Watch how you can see the male flying up from the far end of the garden!
The owlets are becoming more mobile and more animated and are fascinating to watch. With meaty remnants often in the nest box, flies sometimes appear and these can provide hours of entertainment!
Eating their prey whole means that owls eject pellets. These pellets consist of the indigestible hair and bones of their prey. Sometimes it can be a bit of an effort to get that pellet out and it gave me a most fascinating look at the inside of an owlet’s mouth. Look at the shape of that tongue!
I hope these two continue to thrive. It will only be a couple of weeks at the most and they will be looking to branch out into the trees, to be fed by their parents there. Tawny owls leave the nest before they can fly propoerly and use their beaks and talons to claw their way up into the trees. Here they will sit motionless during the day an then call to the parents at night, so that they are brought food.
It is certainly a most wonderful experience to be able to watch this wonderful family.