The owl files – Chapter 2: Encouraging signs

24 June 2021

Encouraging signs

The owls have mated each evening for the last nine days and until this evening it has mostly been the male that has flown up to join the female. Typically, he perches about a meter away and, after several minutes, he gives a single ‘HOOO’ call followed by the soft cooing ‘ho ho ho ho ho .  .  .’  notes. The female then crouches  .  .  . and he mounts her. After a few seconds she makes a rather fractious-sounding squealing .  .  .  and the process is over.

This evening the female was on the lower roof – but very alert and looking around. The male called a few times before he landed on the lower roof about 8 meters from the female. They proceeded to call to each other for several minutes and then she then moved a few meters closer and crouched down facing the male with her ear tufts raised. He gave the soft ‘ho ho ho .  .  .’ calls and then mounted her. This has been the most advanced courtship behaviour yet and although I still haven’t heard the male trying to entice the female into the nest, things are looking good!

By Geoff Lockwood