21 April 2023
And so it starts . . .
I was out on the tower early this morning and just after 06:00, the male flew up out of the Tea Garden onto the parapet of the GoldFields Centre. He hooted softly a few times . . . and the female landed on the back corner of the GoldFields roof above the staff quarters. She answered softly . . . and the male flew across and mated with her.
This is way earlier than I’ve had Spotted Eagle Owls mating before (last year – the earliest I had ever recorded them nesting, I first recorded them mating in the last week of May) and it is likely that this morning’s effort was more about pair-bonding/ synchronizing hormones that actual fertilization. It does however mark the start of the new breeding season!
By Geoff Lockwood