The owl files – Chapter 2: CROWS!!!

12 July 2021


This morning started badly! At 06:45, I could hear growing sounds of crow activity from the nest box and, as my head popped up over the parapet above the nest, there were 7 crows around the box – including one on the step at the entrance. They all took off, but continued to circle around low overhead. After waving, shouting . . . and quite a lot of bad language from my side – the crows drifted off. About 20 minutes later, I could hear that they were back . . . back up the ladder – but this time things were different. As the crows scattered, I found myself looking into the blazing yellow eyes of the male who was just sitting on the step at the entrance, protecting the female. After quietly talking to the male to reassure him I backed down the ladder, fetched the camera, and then went back to try and capture this big behavioural ‘step up’ on the part of this very young male – but he had already gone back to his perch in the Oak Tree.

Half an hour later, the crows were back .  .  . and this time I climbed out onto the lower roof to try and get photographs of the situation. Three crows flew off, and I then saw the male under the overhang at the back of the nest box. He’d come back again to try and protect his mate.

All along, I have been concerned about the youth and inexperience of the male, and one of my biggest fears has been whether he was tough enough to stand up to the crows – if they were again a problem this season that is. Today, I got the answer – yes!!!

By Geoff Lockwood