The owl files – Chapter 2: WHAT THE HELL !!!!

24 November 2021


Yesterday morning at 04:50, I heard a female Spotted Eagle-Owl calling close by. I rushed up onto the tower – but the calling had stopped and there were no signs of the owls ???

This morning, I noticed droppings (” whitewash “) under the Cabbage Tree along the path round to the car park and looking up, I could see an owl perched in one of what had been one of the female’s favourite roosts. Could it possibly be her???

On my return, the owl was no longer in the Cabbage Tree. Looking out the window at the lower roof next to the car park however, I could see an owl perched on the parapet sheltering amongst the overhanging vegetation – exactly as the female used to do! I climbed out onto the roof and slowly approached to within 5m. The owl watched me calmly, showing neither fear nor aggression – her appearance and behaviour confirming that it was the female. SHE IS BACK!

I then went out on the back roof to check on the rest of the family. Male plus the two chicks in their usual spots – so FOUR OWLS!!

I had last seen the female on 08 October, 47 days ago, and apart from some distant calling two weeks after her disappearance (that might have been her) there had been no indication that she was still around – this in spite of intensive searching. I was sure she must have died, as I’ve never before had a female desert dependent chicks. Where she has been, why she left .   .   . and why she came back will probably remain a mystery, BUT I AM THRILLED SHE IS BACK!

Another bit of good news was the finding of several pellets where the chicks are roosting – and they are full of beetle and ‘Parktown Prawn’ remains. The chicks are finding lots of arthropods on which to sharpen their hunting skills.

By Geoff Lockwood