09 January 2023
For the past week, the male has moved from his ‘normal’ roost in the Evergreen Oak and has been roosting with (but not next to) the female in the River Bushwillows in the Tea Garden – the first time the ‘pair’ has been roosting together in several months. Initially, he was very skittish for some reason and flushed before I could confirm that it was in fact the male, but on Saturday I finally managed to see him well enough to be sure.
Both adults are moulting (note the moulted wing feather next to the female in the photo) and, as a result, require more food daily to grow the new feathers – and this is putting even more pressure on the already-struggling chick. Another reason why this second clutch has been such a bad idea!
I’ve been supplying up to four small mice a day, and the chick’s rate of growth has improved. It is however still much smaller and less developed than it should be at this age. At 52 days old, the chick should have left the nest already and be flying well – but as can be seen from the photos, it still has a long way to go!
By Geoff Lockwood