The owl files – Chapter 2: A slow start!

14 October 2021

A slow start!

There has been no sign of the female since last Thursday, and today the chicks were begging at lunchtime already. They were clearly hungry!

I’d managed to get hold of some frozen day-old chicks and some dead young rats and I have just spent the past hour-and-a-half towing a dead rat tied to a long string backwards and forwards below the tree where the owls were perched. They all showed some interest, and eventually one of the chicks flew down and ‘killed’ the rat. It then took it to a low branch and started feeding. Encouraged, I tied on another dead rat .   .   . and tried again. The remaining two chicks still seemed interested, but they failed to pounce, and eventually flew off – as did the male.

So the scorecard? – one chick has at least had something to eat, and whatever the male is able to catch tonight will go a bit further as a result. Also the ‘successful’ chick will hopefully be more prepared to come down the next time, and things will get progressively easier. I must admit though that I’d hoped that this evening would have gone better.

By Geoff Lockwood