The owl Files – And then there were two . . .

17 December 2020

And then there were two …

After the highlights of our long weekend at the trout farm, it was great to be welcomed by the asthmatic begging calls of the owl chicks from the lower roof on our return. This morning two chicks were perched together on the corner of the roof, but I couldn’t see the adults or the other chick.

When the Centre opened, one of my colleagues gave me the bad news – early on Tuesday morning all three chicks were together on the roof and all were looking well. Later however someone noticed that one of the chicks was lying spread-eagled in a pool of rainwater with its face in the water. Another chick was standing next to it, apparently concerned by the strange lack of movement or response. They climbed out and retrieved the body, keeping it till we returned. On examination, it proved to be one of the chicks – every feather perfect .  .  . no sign of any injury, and it showed no sign of emaciation. The fact that it had apparently died in the water raised the possibility of a Trichomoniasis infection – but when I pried the bill open, there were no signs of the horrific lesions that are normally characteristic of this parasitic infection.

So – cause of death unknown!

By Geoff Lockwood