23 February 2021
And then there was one . . .
It has been a while since my last update . . . we have been away quite a bit, and there were also no real developments to report on. Last week however I found both the female and remaining chick on Thursday – but they had moved even further apart and did not appear to be reacting to each other at all. There was some good news though – from the pellets that I found beneath the respective roosts I could see that both owls had fed on a variety of prey – Vlei Rats, Common Mole Rats, ‘Parktown Prawns’ and at least two small birds, a very encouraging sign after our concerns that a food shortage had possibly caused the deaths of the male and one of the chicks a few months ago.
This week, only the female is still hanging around the Centre and she has again been calling loudly – this in contrast to her previous behaviour as she has never been particularly vocal. Hopefully the message that her previous mate is no longer around is heard and she will have attracted a replacement before the next breeding season starts.
Meanwhile, after a crazy, disrupted and sad season, it looks like the last chick has followed the ‘normal’ timetable and has moved off at the expected time. It still faces a steep learning curve but it will hopefully survive.
This will be my last update covering this breeding season but I have reposted the photo that started this journey 7 months ago – the male and female mating on the lower roof on 22 July 2020, just before she began laying.
By Geoff Lockwood