The owl files – Chapter 4: ‘The Odd Couple’

21 May 2023

‘The Odd Couple’

Since my last update the pair have seemed to be ‘out of step’ with each other – duetting between them has been infrequent, with the female only giving odd, single responses while the male is calling intensely. Yesterday evening was fairly typical of what has been going on – but with a twist!

When I climbed out on the roof at 17:15, the female was on the parapet next to the Evergreen Oak, and the male was still perched in the Oak tree. He started to call soon after  .  .  .  .  and the female answered twice. She then flew up to the parapet of the Function Room roof. Promising (or so I thought)!

The male then flew out of the Oak .  .  .  and straight up to the nest box! He hopped inside, and I could hear his soft hooting – trying to entice the female to the nest. I could see him intently watching the female through the gap at the back of the nest box – but she seemed completely disinterested. Eventually, he gave up and flew off towards the school. The female continued to sit on the parapet for a few minutes .  .  .  and then she flew up to the nest. It was pretty dark by now, but I could see her moving around in the box .  .  .  and this morning there seemed to the start of a hollow scratched into the river sand in the box. Is this really the start?

By Geoff Lockwood