The owl files – Chapter 3: Is history repeating itself?

18 July 2022

Is history repeating itself?

Based on the laying date of the first egg, it should have either have hatched, or started hatching by yesterday – so when we got back from the Wits Bird Club weekend at Dullstroom I climbed over to check. The female remained in the box, allowing me to touch her, before flying down into a tree in the Tea Garden. Still three eggs, and also no sign of pipping (when the chick inside starts cracking open the egg).

Last year the incubation period was also longer than the usual 31 to 32 days, and although the laying intervals between the three eggs were three days – rather than the normal 24 hrs, the difference in the sizes of the chicks wasn’t as radically different as I expected.

Did the longer incubation somehow negate the long laying interval between successive eggs so that that they hatched closer together??  I will be checking the nest regularly to see if something similar happens this season.

By Geoff Lockwood