05 July 2021
Family planning . . .
Since her arrival in the Delta territory 12 years ago, the current female has consistently laid 3 eggs each season (except for the two seasons the owls lost, when they were driven out by Pied Crows). I was interested to see if this pattern would continue this year – particularly as I was concerned that her new mate – still less than a year old, would struggle to provide enough food to raise such a large brood. Yesterday evening, after the female had left the nest for her usual break, I checked the nest . . . and there was still only a single egg!
Spotted Eagle-Owls usually lay at 24 hour intervals until the clutch is complete so it looks like the male will have a slightly easier introduction to his parental duties. It is not clear however if the single egg clutch is a response to there not being as much food in the park this season, or simply because the still-inexperienced male was not providing much in the way of courtship feeding in the period leading up to egg-laying.
By Geoff Lockwood