The owl files – Chapter 3: Branched!!

29 August 2022


After a week away, I was really keen to see how the owls were doing and I checked on the nest as soon as we got back yesterday evening. It was empty. I could just see part of one of the chicks on the roof below the nest however.

Early this morning, the female was in ‘her’ tree in the Tea Garden, and the nest was still empty. The female eventually flew back to the nest but she perched on the roof under the nest – and so I climbed out onto the roof so that I could photograph her and the chicks.

The wing feathers of the chicks have developed well, and the flight feathers are now about 7cm long.

And ‘branched’? – ‘branching’ is a term used to describe when chicks are old and developed enough to start moving away from the nest. They are not yet able to fly however – and at many nests this is often when chicks prematurely fall to the ground (and people try to rescue them thinking, incorrectly, that they have been evicted by the parents). The situation at the Delta nest however means that the chicks are able to shelter below the nest, and also roam the small roof after dark.

By Geoff Lockwood