The owl file – Chapter 3: Split focus

10 September 2022

Split focus

On Thursday evening, the chick that had joined the male in the Evergreen Oak flew back across to the roof .  .  . and spent the night there. On Friday morning, when I headed out on the roof in the direction of the Oak to look for it, the female who was guarding the other chick (who was still in the nest) watched me very intently. She obviously was aware of where the chick was hiding and kept a close eye on me to make sure that I didn’t get too close. The chick was well hidden in the Mountain Karee overhanging the parapet. It had been 7 days since it had come down from the nest ledge and its survival skills seem to be improving. The second chick however seems in no hurry to leave the safety of the nest  .  .  . a typical twenty-first century teenager???

This morning when I went out onto the tower, I could hear the chipping call of a Black Sparrowhawk plus the hooting of the male Spotted Eagle-owl coming from the trees behind the Centre. Oh no! I quickly checked the nest – female dozing on the ledge on the side of the nest and chick inside the box, and then went down to check on the male and (hopefully) the other chick. Both were in the Rhus lancea – and both were OK! Trying to keep the chicks safe at this stage is really stressful!!

What is interesting though is that the male seems to be guarding the more adventurous chick, while the female is focusing on the ‘stay-at-home’ one.

By Geoff Lockwood