The owl files – Chapter 2: Growing really fast!

23 August 2021

Growing really fast!

The male has continued to showcase his hunting skills and this morning there were at least 3 decapitated Vlei Rats in the nest – (males usually bite off the heads of prey before delivering the rest of the animal to the female at the nest). The chicks were however hidden under the female.

This afternoon I heard the Egyptian Geese ‘chatting’ from the corner of the parapet above the nest and then the soft hooting of the male from the nest. I grabbed the camera and headed for the roof. The geese flew off before I reached the ladder, but when I popped up above the wall I found the male bristling at me from the step. He clicked his beak at me a few times before settling down – but what was really amazing was that one of the chicks was standing almost fully upright with its wings fanned in a threat display and it too clicked its beak at me.

You can already see the ‘pinned’ flight feathers (blue spikes) on the wings and also the barred light-and-dark body plumage – and it looks like the combination of abundant food plus the smaller clutch this year is ensuring that the chicks are developing really quickly.

Male owl and chick with fanned feathers - threat display 23082021

By Geoff Lockwood