The owl files – Chapter 2: Where’s the ‘magic’ . . . ?

14 June 2021

Where’s the ‘magic’ . . . ?

Since my last update the progress in the relationship between the female and the new, and very young, male has been unremarkable. The birds have been roosting fairly close together (about 1 – 2m apart) – either in the Evergreen Oak, or in the Cabbage Tree but when they leave the roost in the evenings they are either heading off in different directions, or perching far apart on the lower roof.

By now I was expecting to have heard the male calling in the nest box in the evenings – a critical part of courtship and preparing the pair for mating, egg-laying and chick-rearing – but nothing yet!

At this stage, the male would usually be trying to entice the female to the nest – giving a series of soft hooting notes (and sounding rather like a pair of courting Rock Doves). He circles around in the nest, creating a hollow for the eggs, almost as if he is coaching her on what to do, and he may also offer her food as part of the enticement process.

Given the age and lack of experience of the male, I have been worried that he wouldn’t be able to stand up to the Pied Crows and the only positive news I can give on progress at this stage is that ten days ago the owls were in the Cabbage Tree when they were discovered by at least 10 crows. In spite of extremely aggressive and persistent attentions from the crows (until I went out on the roof and chased them off) both owls sat tight!

Male and female owls 14062021

By Geoff Lockwood