12 December 2022
Some good news at last
After being missing for several days, the remaining fledgeling was reported on the car park awning yesterday evening – but I only got the report this morning. Before its’ disappearance, someone had reported that it was behaving strangely and seemed to have a neck injury – so I’ve been stressing badly. This afternoon, I took two dead mice down to the lawn in front of the building – and found the fledgeling perched in the Willow Tree. I waved a mouse around to try and attract the owl’s attention, and then threw it out onto the grass below it.
NOW, WOULD THE OWL RECOGNISE A DEAD MOUSE AS FOOD ???
The owl immediately showed some interest – bobbing its’ head from side to side as it tried to figure out what this ‘thing’ was. It then swooped down and grabbed the mouse loosely in one foot and, after nibbling it for a few minutes, proceeded to swallow it whole.
After giving it a break for a few minutes, I threw out the second mouse. More ‘bobbing and weaving’, and the owl flew down – this time landing about 30 cm from the mouse, and then walking over to pick it up in its’ bill. It then flew back up into the Willow to swallow its’ prey. And the good news – (1) the chick seems fine and I couldn’t see any sign of an injury and (2) it recognises dead mice as food – which means that I can easily help with food if it seems that it is hungry and needs help. This is only for as long as it remains around the Centre however.
There were no food remains in the nest – so I also put another dead mouse in the box with the female and the chick so at least I know that it has eaten this evening.
By Geoff Lockwood