The owl files – The strange season continues!

28 January 2021

The strange season continues!

The female and remaining youngster have been hanging around the Delta Environmental Centre, although they roost apart and don’t seem to interact with each other. 

In spite of wet weather over the past few days, both birds seem to be doing well and the chick seems to be managing to find its own food (I’ve stopped assist feeding for the moment to check on its progress). In past seasons, the chicks have been pretty well independent of the parents by now and have usually moved off by the end of February – so in spite of deaths of the male and one chick, plus the unexplained disappearance of the second chick, the surviving chick seems to be on track.

This morning, the owls delivered another surprise however! At 05:15 this morning, the female began calling from the tower. She has been much more vocal since her mate died – part of the process of attracting a replacement for her lost mate, and I had been worried what would happen if a new male  arrived while the chick was still around. Would an inexperienced male who had not bred before see the chick as a competitor and try to drive it away .  .  . ?

Anyway, back to this morning. Almost immediately, another owl answered .  .  . but it was giving the “hu . . . hoo .  .  . hoooo” calls of a female!  In my experience, it is still too early for the chick to have started to give adult-type calls – so what is going on?

By Geoff Lockwood