The owl files – You’re on your own?

16 January 2021

You’re on the own?

The female has been missing from her usual roosts around the building for the past two days while the chick has found himself a well-sheltered spot in the Willow in front of the Centre.

This evening, after a short rain shower, the chick moved to the flat roof – hiding in the vegetation overhanging the parapet. I had not put food out yesterday so I had two defrosted day-old chicks ready and threw these out onto the roof below where the chick was perched. It noticed them immediately, but it was a few minutes before it pounced .  .  . landing well short of the food and then walking up to it. It picked up the chick in its bill, .  .  . and headed for cover again. I have mentioned in previous updates that this chick seems very aware of the potential threat posed by the raptors we have in Delta and, before it began to feed, it scanned the skies overhead intently for several minutes.

In happier times, I had seen the Ovambo Sparrowhawk, Little Sparrowhawk, Black-winged Kite and the Black Sparrowhawk ‘ buzzing’ the female and three chicks in the nest box – so I am not sure whether the vigilance is learnt or instinctive. Either way, it should stand the chick in good stead!

Owl chick "hiding" in the vegetation overhanging the parapet 16012021

By Geoff Lockwood