The owl files – Chapter 3: Worrying times

09 December 2022

Worrying times

For the past few days, one of the first brood chicks has been roosting in the Willow in front of the Centre. What is worrying however is that it is obviously hungry and has been coming down onto the ground around the Centre in the early afternoon – yesterday at 15:30, long before it was dark! It is far too trusting, and is really vulnerable to dogs, and even to misguided people who could try and ‘rescue it’.

On the last two evenings it has flown up onto the shade cloth awning in the car park – where it has preened and looked around.

This morning, the chick seems to have moved off again.

Back at the nest, there has been no sign of food remains for the past few days – although the new chick still seems to be growing normally. It is now 18 days old and the long flight feathers are starting to develop – showing as blue sheaths on the wings.

This morning there were the remains of a young Vlei Rat in the nest – so at least the chick will feed well today, but I have decided to help out with food on those days when there is nothing in the nest in the early mornings.

The female has been getting used to my regular visits. She still flies off down to the Tea Garden, but this morning I was still at the nest when she decided to return – perching on the roof next to me so she could watch what I was doing.

By Geoff Lockwood