The owl files – Chapter 2: Status? – satisfactory . . . for now!

22 October 2021

Status? – satisfactory . . . for now!

On Tuesday morning, the three remaining owls were not in the Elm tree next to the air quality monitoring station behind the Centre. Later that day however they were all back – so they had clearly decided to change roosts, returning to the Elm in the late afternoon. Good news – the chicks had obviously fed well during the previous evening and had not yet started their “weeaghh . . . weeaghh” begging calls by 18:20.

On Wednesday morning the Elm was again minus the owls and a search around the building failed to reveal any of them. As we were leaving for the Rand Barbets Bird Club photographic competition function that evening however I found one chick on the back roof of the Centre. More problems???

Yesterday morning I was out early trying to check on the whereabouts of the owls .  .  . and found the chicks on the parapet of the back roof, sheltering amongst the foliage of the Acacia near the ramp to the back door. A further search produced the male perching lower down in the same tree. I was still concerned about how well the owls were feeding though and was out behind the Centre again at 16:30 to observe the chicks’ behaviour. The male had already moved to the Elm, but both chicks were still on the parapet. The male then flew to one of the Rhus lancea trees and began calling – his white throat flashing with each “huu .  .  . hoooo”. I hung around for over an hour, watching to see how hungry the chicks were – but they must have had another good feed on Wednesday night and neither chick had started begging by the time I came inside. More good news – the male had again managed to catch enough food, and things were looking slightly more hopeful. If only I knew what had happened to the missing female and the other chick though!

By Geoff Lockwood