The owl files – Chapter 2: Some progress . . .

16 December 2021

Some progress . . .

Early yesterday morning when I looked out of the kitchen window, I was greeted by a familiar sight – the female was sitting in her favourite spot under the overhang, with the male beyond and slightly below her on the window sill. The scene could easily have been from the early stages of their courtship, before they started nesting. I went out onto the lower roof to take photos of the pair, with the owls letting me position myself about 6 m away – with no sign of fear or aggression from them.

Later, the female flew up into the Cabbage Tree. The male however remained on the window sill for the whole day – only flying off into the park as it was getting dark. For much of the time he was turned to face the window, seemingly fascinated by his reflection. I have seen this behaviour from him often (I had even considered naming him Narcissus – on account of his good looks .  .  . and his apparent self-absorption) and would love to know just what is going on here.

Just after taking the photographs, I had to give the window frames below where the male was sitting a coat of paint. He had been fine with me approaching on the lower roof .  .  . but messing about on a ladder 4 m below him ??

I needn’t have worried – he simply glanced at me, and then dozed off.

Both owls are very busy moulting at the moment, with the female in particular preening regularly through the day – and leaving a collection of moulted feathers on the roof and below her roosts, and she is looking a little ‘tatty’ as a result.

By Geoff Lockwood