The owl files – Chapter 2: The dating game . . . getting there (slowly)

29 March 2021

The dating game . . . getting there (slowly)

Yesterday evening at around 18:40, I was working at my desk when I caught a movement out the corner of my eye. A large bird had swooped up – and possibly landed on the wall above my study. I then heard the male Spotted Eagle Owl giving his “Huu  hoooo” call.

I rushed upstairs, .  .  . carefully opened the door out onto the roof, .  .  . and slowly stepped out. The male was perched on the back wall just above the owl nest box. After glancing briefly at me, he went back to staring in the direction of the Evergreen Oak where the pair have been roosting. He called again .  .  .  and the female gave her “Hu-huu  hooo” call in reply. They were dueting together – for the first time! He then moved closer to the female, perching on the Wi-Fi aerial and calling again. Again, she responded!

Typically, as we move closer to the mid-winter breeding season of this species, this dueting calling behaviour would become more frequent – helping to cement the pair bond, and also sending a message out to other owls that the territory is already occupied (by a pair). So more progress!

By Geoff Lockwood