The owl files – Chapter 3: This is no “Mother of the Year” candidate!!

30 December 2022

This is no “Mother of the Year” candidate!!

For the past few days the new chick has been on the roof below the box, with the female spending most of the day in one of the River Bush-Willows in the Tea Garden. When I check on the chick, sometimes only its’ feet are visible – peeking out below the nest box, and they are a strong reminder of just how small the youngster still is! At this age (42 days old), previous chicks have reached adult size – with only the flight feathers still needing further growth, and many have already taken their first flights!

This morning I thawed two mice and climbed over the wall to the nest box. I passed one to the female (who was under the box with the chick) – hoping that she would tear it up for her youngster. Instead, she swooped off to the Tea Garden .  .  .  and proceeded to first decapitate, and then swallow the whole mouse!! Instead of returning to the nest (where I’d left the second mouse for the chick), she then settled down to a bout of preening. JUST HOW MUCH OF THE FOOD I’M PROVIDING IS THE CHICK ACTUALLY GETTING?

Meanwhile, the remaining fledgeling from the first brood returned to the Centre yesterday, and was in the Willow in front of the building this morning. Not sure why food seems to be so scarce .   .   . but it looks like I need more mice.

42 day old owl chick and mother owl
42 day old owl chick and mother owl

By Geoff Lockwood