The owl files – More of the same

5 January 2021

More of the same

When we got back from our time at the farm, and then the Kudu Private Game Reserve, my first priority was to check on the owls!

It was already dark, but my colleague had continued the assist feeding in our absence and we could see the youngster feeding on a day-old chick.  The next morning, the owl chick (the only way you can tell now is that it still does the ‘bobbing and weaving’ when looking at things) was on the window ledge, and the female was in her favourite spot in the corner – so they had both made it!

Yesterday evening I put out more two day-old chicks and the owl chick flew up and fed as soon as it got dark. The female however showed no interest and she flew off into the park without feeding – so she seems to be finding enough food.

Normally, this is the time that the chicks would be becoming increasingly independent from their parents – eventually drifting off out of the park around the end of February but, with the male and probably the other two chicks having died, it will be interesting to see if the remaining chick hangs around for longer. I will continue to monitor the situation and slowly reduce the assist feeding to encourage the owl chick to become more self-sufficient.

On a different note, two nights ago Cynthia and I awoke at 01:30 to the distinctive ‘Bow .  .  .  wow!  .  .  Bow .  .  . wow .  . ‘ calls of a Freckled Nightjar – a new bird for Delta Park. This species prefers rocky areas and the park is not ideal habitat for it – so it is unlikely to settle, but still a great way to celebrate a new birding year!

By Geoff Lockwood