The owl files – Chapter 4 : Missing!

15 November 2023


On Monday evening, after a long threatening build-up, I heard the sounds of hail hitting the roof outside my study window. Would the chicks be OK?

Fortunately, the worst of the storm skirted the park, and I went to bed happy that all was well. Just after 01:00 however, Cynthia and I were startled awake by a loud yowling noise coming from the Tea Garden. It sounded like a cat, or possibly a Large-spotted Genet, and we wondered if it had strayed too close to one of the chicks and was being attacked by the adults. The yowling continued without a break for several minutes, but no sounds – hoots, hissing, or bill-clicks, from the owls. Then, once the yowling stopped, both adults started calling loudly – continuing for several minutes.

About 15 minutes later, the yowling started again .   .   . and I decided to go out and try and see what was going on. A check around the Tea Garden produced no sign of any of the owls; no feathers, or signs of a struggle  .   .   . but also no signs of the animal that had been yowling!

I was back out again at dawn – both parents in the Evergreen Oak, but no signs of the chicks.

I checked again yesterday evening – hoping to hear the begging calls of the chicks, and eventually found a single chick on the Function Room roof. I’ve just tried again this morning – but still only one chick. I will keep trying but things are not looking good!

One lone owl chick
One lone owl chick

By Geoff Lockwood