The owl files – Chapter 3: Recovery operation

06 September 2022

Recovery operation

Yesterday morning the female was perched on the step of the nest box, with the second chick in the box; the male was at his usual perch in the Evergreen Oak – but where was the other chick? A thorough check of the trees where it had been on Sunday came up empty so the search widened – the Tea Garden, the gardens around the Centre building, but nothing! I asked my colleagues to look as well, but still no sign of the missing chick and I so decided to try again at dusk when the chick (hopefully) began to beg for food.

Just after 18:00 the male began calling from the parapet next to the Evergreen Oak. He suddenly focused on something at the front of the building and swooped down towards the Willow. I followed him and noticed a familiar shape in the gloom – there was the chick was sitting in the middle of the road. As I approached, it simply froze with eyes closed in a really misguided attempt to ‘blend in’. I picked it up and took it up to our roof garden (just over the wall from the nest box) where it put on a very impressive spread-wing threat display before scuttling off to shelter under the lookout platform. I checked again at 19:15 and the chick was begging loudly, and the male was perched on the Wi-Fi aerial – so things were looking good. And this morning? The chick was in one of the planters trying hard to blend in with the parsley. Safe, at least for now!

By Geoff Lockwood