Tawny Owl Nest Box Project 2022 (January to April - Part 1).

March 22, 2022  •  1 Comment

Tawny Owl Nest Box Diary 2022 (the story so far)

About four or five years ago the Tawny Owls we had on the Park really started to make their presence known by becoming a lot more vocal and we were picking them up hunting on the cctv cameras placed around the Park. Their "Twit Twoo" call is, as you are probably aware, quite distinctive and difficult to ignore when they are sitting in trees, only yards away.

In the winter of 2018/2019, we took part in the British Trust for Ornithology's "Tawny Owl Calling Survey". The survey required that we listen out for the owls as and when we could, between September and March, listening for 20 minutes between sunset and midnight. It soon became clear that we had several Tawny Owls in the area. This wasn't exactly new to us as we already knew we had a pair of Tawny Owls who nested in a tree hole about half a mile away from the park as the crow (or owl) flies.

The photographs below are of one of the adults and the young owls, after they had branched (fledged) into the tree.

Local Tawny Owl near tree nest roughly half a mile from the Park

So at Christmas that year, we decided to get a Tawny Owls Nest Box. We identified a suitable tree on the park and placed the box about 20 feet off the ground and installed a CCTV camera on the tree looking at the box and another in the box itself.

 

Over the next few years, we have seen an owl inspect the box, both outside and inside, but they never decided to choose the box to nest in....... until this year! 

The first we knew about it was on the 16th of January when the CCTV camera we had on the tree picked out two owls (see the image below)..... one on the branch in front of the camera and one on the box. They only stayed around for a few minutes. Unfortunately, in the Autumn of 2021, the camera inside the box had failed and we had not replaced the camera.  So, hoping we might be lucky this year, we quickly purchased and fitted a new camera

This paid off when the very next day we saw the female in the bottom of the nest box.

The following two minute video shows the female inside the box, sizing it up for nesting. Apologies for the shaky video which was taken off the CCTV monitor by hand on the phone.

On the 29th of January, both owls were on the tree making out but not going to the box because a Squirrel had moved in!

After the owls flew away, I went over to the box and banged on the side with a long pole to scare the squirrel away, which it did.  However, he came back after about 30 minutes.  This exercise was carried out about nine times during the evening and I finally went to bed thinking I had won...... but the next morning, he was there again!  We spent the day scaring him away again and by the end of the day he had disappeared......finally!

We thought the Owls had given up on the box as they weren't around for a couple of weeks. The squirrel had obviously brought in quite a bit of small twigs and leaves and I wasn't too sure that it suited the owl as she seemed to be trying to settle into the litter.  So over the next few days I removed some of the branches and leaves. Each time she visited she seemed to be trying to move the litter out of the way, so I removed almost all of the twigs and leaves. She kept coming back and she seemed to be a lot more satisfied that there was barely anything left in the box.

On the 26th of February, we caught an image on the CCTV where both owls were on or in the box for the first time. It seems that they were both now giving it an inspection.

 

According to the BTO, Tawny owls lay their first egg around the middle of march, so there was still a chance that they could choose our box to lay their eggs. Tawny owls usually have a few places where they could nest so you can never be sure that they will use the same box in consecutive years.

The female kept returning to the nest box several times a night and on the 7th of March we had the following image....

It was really looking promising now as the male was starting to bring food at the box. The female still wasn't there full time, but she was visiting very frequently.

Finally on the 12th of March..... AN EGG!!!

Then on the 14th..... Two eggs!

and on the 17th....three eggs!

Two or three eggs seems to be the average for Tawny Owls However, on the 20th of March.... four eggs!

She is sat on them almost all the time and only leaves the nest for 10 minutes or so. The male now brings her food daily and passes it over to her. The image below was on the 21st of March which brings us up to date.

 

Please Note.....

I shall be updating the blog daily and/or whenever there is an "event" worth noting.  Fingers crossed that all goes well in the next few weeks. The chicks should start to hatch around the 12th of April and be "branching" out around the 12th of May.

Safe to say that even though the box has been up for a few years, as this is the first time we have had the owls nesting, in no way do I consider myself an expert on Tawny Owls and their behaviour!.... I'm learning as I go along!   So please, if you feel that I have made any errors in this  (or any other) Blog, or you wish to offer advice, then please feel free to message me through the contact page.

 

I apologise right now for the quality of the video recording. This is something I don't normally do! but hopefully, given time, I will improve.

 

 

Activity on the evening and night of 22nd and the morning of 23rd March 

Not much activity today..... presume most days will be like this until we have chicks that need feeding.

female left the box at 19:21 and returned at 19:31...... She left again at 21:48 and returned at 21:58..... She left again at 03:03.

While she was away, I think the male arrived, perching next to the box from 03:05 to 03:07, then flew off. Never looking in the box.

The female arrived back ten minutes later at 03:17

She last left the box at 04:59 and returned at 05:06

I have no idea whether leaving the box for these short breaks is "normal" behaviour or not.

There was no footage of the female being fed by the male at any time since the previous morning. I can only presume she fed herself while she was out and about.

I'm going to put out more cameras to see if I can get a better picture of where they are going when leaving the area.

 

During the day I moved one of the cameras to see the approach to the nest box - to try to establish from which direction they were bringing in the food.

 

 

23rd/24th March

The evening saw the male come in with food at 18:58 and do a food swap in the box - flying off again at 19:01 spending time on the sill. 

at 03:21 the female left the box for twenty minutes, returning at 03:41

05:27 saw the male return with food for the female -

another swap over with the food in the box with the female.....here, the male drops from the top to the bottom of the box to pass the food.

and he left one minute later, flying off to the north.

 

 

24th/25th March

The evening started off at 17:40 when a female Kestrel inspected the Owl box with the female Tawny inside. She soon made an exit!

I had only just completed this Kestrel box yesterday...... I think I need to get it put up quickly!

It's a very interesting time of year.....

Later that evening....

19:07 - female Tawny leaves the box and flies North... returning at 19:16

01:48 Male arrives onto the tree from the West. - unusually, sits on the camera branch for 8 minutes and then flies off to the North.

04:06 - Male arrives with food on the branch above the nest box - a minute later, he jumps to the box and goes straight down to hand over the prey. He lies/stands over her for about 30 seconds or so then proceeds to climb up the box, just as another (third) owl tries to land on the box!.  This intruder does a quick turn-around and lands on the camera branch before the male shows at the top of the box. They stare each other out, about 20 feet apart, for about a minute or so, then our male flies straight at the intruder on the branch flipping his talons up as he approaches the owl..... they clash briefly before they both fly off at speed over the water at 04:10..... an interesting 4 minutes! It may look at times like the video has frozen but the owls are just very still!  About 3.5 minutes of video.

 

25th/26th March.

19:10 - first movement as the female leaves the box and heads East down the Ride....

19:13 - Owl arrives on the camera branch (our male probably) - he hangs around for a couple of minutes then he also flies off to the East.

19:24 - the female returns to the nest.

19:38 - Male flies up to the branch above the nest box, just like last night...he's carrying prey again. Thirty seconds later he's in the box passing over the food to the female. He appears to be standing on top of the female for about 30 seconds, (maybe his legs are on either side whilst she is protecting the eggs). Then he climbs back out of the box. The female can be seen "necking" the food in the background whilst he's stood on the lip.

19:40 - he's back on the branch in front of the camera, staying there for a minute or so before flying off once again to the East, again down the ride.

23:00 - Owl (Male) flies in from the North up the Ride and sits right on the branch camera. It just sits looking around. Female inside box doesn't seem disturbed.

23:08 - Owl (male) flies off to the east down the Ride.

00:53 - Female leaves the nest and flies up the Ride, past the Lodge.

01:05 - Female flies down the Ride and returns to the Lodge.

 

26th/27th March

10:25 - Squirrel around the nest box...... 10:32 he disappeared!.

11:11 - Squirrel appeared again sat on the lip of the box as if waiting for the owl to up and leave! - 11:15 he disappears again.

19:19 - Female flies away to the East up the Ride.....and returns at 19:35.

01;42 - Male flies in from the East - down the Ride and brings food (a mole), landing on the camera branch. He stays on the branch whilst the female is looking at the opening!  Then he flies over to the box and does a very quick pass over on the food. He stays on the lip of the box for a few seconds and then flies off to the East.....down the Ride to the area where there are many, many molehills! 

03;13 - Female leaves the box and also seems to fly off towards the East. She lands back on the box from the North at 03:21.

05:46 - Female flies off off to the North, up the ride and at 05:58  the female flies down the Ride back to the box.

 

27th/28th March

20:03 - Female leaves the nest box, probably to the East...... Returns at 20:15 down the Ride from the Lodge.

Very quiet night, male doesn't show and at....

04:16 - Female leaves the nest and flies off to the East down the Ride 04:43 Female returns to the nest flying in as usual down the Ride from the North.

05:19 - Male comes in from the S.W. bringing food and lands on the lip of the box. He stays there for two minutes, with the female looking up at him before flying off up the Ride to land in a tree where they are known to perch. Female just sits there looking at the opening.

05:52 - Female leaves the nest, flies North up the Ride and heads towards the tree where the male went.

06:00 - Female heads back to nest box, flying in from the north as usual..... Presumably she's now eaten!

06:34 - Just before the cameras went off of infra red light, a Roe Deer came out of the field to the west and proceeded to walk down the Ride toward the nest box tree. 

06:54 - The roe deer heads back up onto the Ride below the owl box and brings two of its pals with her! - they walked up and down the Ride for a couple nearly ten minutes before heading back into the field. 

Haven't seen them this close before, although we do see them fairly often in the fields next to us. 

I will post again later with the Owl activity. Hopefully the male will be a little more active!.....

 

28th/29th March

20:14 - Female leaves nest and flies up the Ride to the North seeming to be rising over the trees to head towards the wood maybe. Their usual roosting spot.

20:30 - Female arrive back on nest flying in down the Ride from the North as usual. .

 

22:13 - Female leaves the nest to the North and over/through the trees again towards the woods.

22:19 - Owl flies in from the North, Down the ride and lands on the branch above the nest box. The male usually lands here when he brings in food. Female is not at the nest.

22:23 - Female arrives from the North and lands on Lip of the opening with the male above her on the branch. Male almost immediately flies off to the East down the ride, Female enters nest box Moves the eggs around and settles.

 

00:35 Owl arrives on a branch in front of the Ride Camera. Not a usual perching spot for our owls. A minute later the owl flies directly to the Nest Tree and sits on the Branch in front of the camera looking at the nest box. Female lifts her head slightly but otherwise doesn’t move. The owl on the branch looks around for a while before flying off, down the Ride to the East at 00:39. Think it must have been our male.

 

02:44 - Male arrives from the East with food, sits on the lip of the box for 30 seconds or so before doing a shallow passing over of the food with the female. The female eats the prey immediately.

Male jumps to nearby branch, sits a while and then flies off down the Ride to the East.

 

06:01 - Female leaves the nest flying North up the Ride flips over the trees towards the woods. One egg seems to have been separated from the other three.

06:13 - Female arrives down the drive at the nest. When she returns she pushes the eggs together again and carries on sitting.

 

29th 30th March

20:17 - Female leaves nest, heading East down the Ride I think.

20:27 - Female arrives back from the North Down the Ride

 

00:17 - Owl lands on tree behind the owl box and sits for a minute before flying to the branch at the side of the box. Shortly after it jumps up to the branch above the box. Stays on the branch for a minute or so and flies off to the East, down the Ride at 00:22. Female in the dox was aware. 

No food yet for the female! - when does she eat?   She’s only gone usually for ten minutes at a time!

 

02:00 - Female leaves the nest box and seems to head North up the Ride. For a few seconds before leaving she was. Looking up to the opening as if she could hear something. It is at times like this when I wish I had incorporated a microphone! At the time I thought it was just something else to go wrong!

0208 - Female arrives from the north (again!)  and settles down again. Maybe the Male called her and had some food for her. Unfortunately, we’ll never know!  The Male doesn’t “seem” to be actually doing a great deal regarding providing food for her. Maybe the female want/has/needs to leave the nest occasionally to stretch her wings, relieve herself, exercise to keep herself in shape.

02:57 - Male flies in up the Ride form the east and lands on the box carrying prey. He sits on the edge of the box looking down whilst the female looks up…… does nothing, then flies away…. with the food!!! At 02:58

Female settles down again….. Starts raining quite hard at 04:30 ish…. don’t suppose we’ll see anything of the male now!

 

05:44 - Still raining - Female leaves the nest turning North up the ride, to land in the tree which is slightly off camera, This was where she went to see the Male the other day.

05:55 - eleven minutes later, the female returns to the nest box. Arrives from the North again but hard to see whether it’s from the top of the nearby tree or further up the Ride. She settles down again.

Again, I don’t know whether this frequent leaving of the nest is normal or not! If anyone out there has any information that may clear this up please feel free to contact me.

 

30th/31st March

20:07 - Female leaves the nest and flies up the Ride to the North

20:15 - Female returns to nest box from the North as usual……

00:12 - Female looks up to the opening, expectantly…..

00:13 - Males flies up to long branch near to lodge, come in from the field next to the lodge carrying prey. Sits on the branch for 4 minutes before flying off towards the nest box.

00:17 - Male shows up with food…..drops down into box stays in the box with her for thirty seconds or so then climbs out onto the lip, staying there for a minute.

00:19 - Male flies away to the south into the field. 

01:28 - Owl (Male?) flies in from the North Down the Ride, low and fast landing on the camera branch.

01:31 - Owl (Male?) twitches his head and leaves to the East, down the Ride.

05:30 - Female flies off to the East

05:43 - Male lands in front of camera on nest box tree from the East. Looks around

 

05:46 - Male flies across to the box opening….. looks in the box for a couple of minutes and then at....

05:48 - Male flies away, up the Ride to the North and high up onto the trees near the lodge.

06:02 - Female flies in Down the Ride from the North and heads for the opening….. but at the last minute swerves off to land on a branch below and to the west of the box. She sits there for a minute or so then flies to the box and settles on the eggs again.

 

Its a cold morning today and she has been off the eggs for 33 minutes! - hope this doesn’t affect the eggs!.... Nine or 10 days and we should know.....

 

31st March/1st April

20:26 - Male arrives from West and sits on Box edge for a few seconds and flies off to the East down the ride.

20:49 - Female leaves the box and heads up the Ride to the North, as she gets to the end of the trees, she swoops to the left and lands on a branch on the tree nearest the Lodge where my new camera is positioned. You can see in the image below the Male owl as he flies after the female up into the trees.

The image states "Fox Cam". This is the camera I relocated to see where the owls were going into the trees.  It worked.  I just need to get another camera or two to get the "Fox Cam" back on station.

For your information, the small spot light you can see above the owl is the infra red light from the camera on the branch that looks at the nest box, in the nest box tree.

Hopefully, the Female has eaten while she's been out. 

 

21:00 - Female arrives back, flying down the Ride from the North.

A cold night tonight, down to around -1 with a definite frost.

00:10 - Male in the trees on the Left of the Drive, then swoops down and up onto the Camera branch on the nest box tree. 

00:15 - Male flies off to the west. After looking around for five minutes. Didn’t’t go to the box.

02:48 - Male appears in tree down the Ride on the west side. Stays there for a couple of minutes, then flies up to the branch above the nest box. No sign of food. 

02:52 - Flies off down the Ride to the East.

03:38 - Male flies in from the West with prey in mouth. Looks like a rat. He drops down for a quick pass-over and returns to the opening. He flies off to the South East at 03:42. Female eats the prey straight away.

 

1st April/2nd April

20:38 - Female leaves nest, and flies off down the Ride to the East.
 

20:54 - Female arrives back on nest, flying in down the Ride as usual, from the North.
 

I arrived home from work (21:15) and can hear the Male calling from the general direction of the nest box. But no show as yet. A bright but cold day. No events through the day. She keeps moving the eggs around and leaving one out from underneath her every now and again.

22:43 - Males eyes are showing in the hedgerow trees to the east of the Nest box tree. After a minutes or so he swoops up the Ride to the North and perches on the long branch they sit on together near the lodge. 22:55 - he swoops to the other side of the Ride in the hedgerow, heading towards the nest box.

 

22:56 - Male flies to the nest box and lands on the opening. 22:58 he leaves the box , heads up the ride and flips off to the west through the trees.

00:34 - Male appears on top of the Ride tree camera! - sits for a minute and then at 00:35 - Swoops up to the same long branch near the lodge - he’s carrying some food. He sits on the branch for for 4 minutes and then swoops back down towards the camera but carries on through the trees to the west.

02:37 - Owl lands on Nest box tree camera branch. - sits around looking til 02:39 when he swoops dow low off the branch and lands low in the branch of the big tree on the left besides the water. A minute later he flies off over the water. Not seen him perch here before.

03:06 - Male lands on top of the Ride Tree camera for a minute before flying to the nest box.

03:07 The female in the box does not seem disturbed about the owl at the opening, so presumably, it was the Male. The Male looks off to the East for a few seconds before looking back down at the female.   Then out of the blue and from the East, another owl flies in and attacks the male on the opening, landing on his back.  It falls away and the male drops away from the opening and chases the attacking owl. The female just sits on the eggs and looks up at the opening.

She turns her head and looks like she is calling out…..and she fidgets before climbing out of the box looking around on the opening.

 

 

03:08 - Female leaves the nest and flies straight to the long branch near the lodge where she usually meets the male.....

03:09 - she swoops off the branch and flies towards the woods in the west.

 

The above video shows the main action happening in the upper left hand window. When the female leaves the nest, the lower left hand window shows her path to the long branch, and also her flying off to the left. The light orbs and "stuff" flying around all over the screen is a mixture of insects and mist in the air.

 

03:33 - The female lands back on the nest, flying in from the North, down the drive. Where has she been for 23 minutes? and What’s happened to our owl? She sits on the opening for thirty seconds or so looking around before settling onto the eggs.

04:23 - Owl appears on the long branch near the lodge (see video below), flying in from the West, probably the wood. Female starts to look around inside the box, and up at the opening. Two and a half minutes later, the female rises to the opening swoops down and flies up the Ride to land on the long branch near the Lodge to join the Male.

 

The Video shows the Male coming back into view, in the lower left window, after chasing the intruder away. Then the female being aware that he is there and has food for her.

 

04:26 - Female lands on the branch and almost snatches the prey he’s is holding in his claws. The Male immediately flies off high and to the east.

04:26 - female flies off to the west, through the trees with the food.

04:33 - Female arrives at nest box, flying in down the Ride as usual from the North and immediately settles on the eggs.

05:15 - Male flies in from the West through the trees and lands on the long branch near the lodge. He has food in his talons. Female seems unaware at first and then after a few seconds starts to fidget.

05:19 - Flying in from the North, the male lands on box with the food and drops into box to swap the food. Male stays down for a while with his arm around the female.

 

Video shows  the male on the long branch again. He was there for four minutes and the female knew he was around. He eventually flew to the box….. I think she must have been quite upset about the attack and now he seems to be consoling her!

 

05:22 - Male climbs to the top and looks around for thirty seconds or so before flying off down the Ride to the East. Female eats the rat over the next few minutes and settles down at 05:30.

Another cold night tonight with a frost again. The day was bright and warmer than yesterday but still a little on the cool side. Nothing worth noting occurred today.

 

2nd April/3rd April

 

20:49 - The female starts to look around and at 20:50 she flies up the Ride and veers off into the trees and towards the wood.

21:00 - The female returns and moves the eggs around before settling down.

02:29 - Male flies out of the trees on the Ride North of the nest box and lands on the long branch next to the Lodge. - the now normal meeting place for our two lovebirds! And he’s definitely bearing gifts!  Female becomes agitated and thirty seconds later climbs out of the box. Swoops down and immediately flies straight past the Owl on the branch!…. and lands in a different tree on the Ride near the Lodge! So our male now has to swoop onto the other tree. He passes the food and hops onto a slightly higher branch before flying away immediately towards the woods. Its little vague but it looks like the Female “necks” the food and then also flies off towards the wood in the West

02:36 - Female lands back on box and drops down to settle on the eggs again.

04:37 - Female leaves the nest again, flying right up the Ride past the Lodge.

05:02 - The female reverses her path and returns to the nest box, adjusting the eggs before settling down.

 

3rd/4th April

Another basically cold but fine day. Rain started about 20:30 and the wind got up a bit......Female stayed in the box all day and there was no activity seen until…..

21:31 - Male shows on the long branch, yet again.... flying in from the field to the West, seems to have prey of some kind.... He's struggling a little to stay on the branch in the wind.

21:32 - He flies to the camera branch on the nest box tree with the prey. He flies over to the box drops down and passes the food over quickly..... She"necks" it straight away..... it was a biggish rat!

21:34 - Whilst the female tries to swallow the rat!!!  the male flies off to the East down the Ride.   She finished trying to swallow the rat at 21:41!

22:07 - Male arrives on the box with prey. Looks like a mole. A quick pass over of the food and he climbs back out. He stays on the edge of the box while she is below EATING HER SECOND MEAL in 30 minutes!!!

22:09 - Male flies off to the East, down the Ride.

No action during the night.... just the female sat on the eggs as it rains virtually all night long! Until......

05:53 - Female leaves the nest box in the rain….and heads up the Ride, swooping down and then rises high into the top of the tree next to the Ride camera. The weather is so bad it is very difficult to see the details of the footage. It looks lie she sits there for a minute or so then disappears. Probably off to the West woods.

06:05 - Female returns to the nest box…..flying in down the Ride, from the North…. Again!

 

4th/5th April

 

No action all day. Probably because it was an awful day of drizzle and rain and wind!…. first action of the day was…..

20:43 - Male comes speeding in fast down the Ride from the North with prey in his mouth and lands on the branch in front of the camera on the nest box tree.  The female has been looking up at the opening for a good few seconds now!.

I think the male likes to build up the suspense! - he hangs back for a while, eventually flying up to the box at 20:44.

He looks down and passes over the prey down in the box, climbing back out shortly after.

20:47 - Male flies off down the Ride to the East.

23:00 - Male flies down the Ride and lands in front of the camera carrying prey, turns towards the nest box as the female turns her head up to the opening. He makes the short flight over to the lip and drops down straight away to pass over the food. He stays on the lip of the nest box for a couple of minutes, looking around then swoops away to the East, down the Ride.

01:49 - Male lands in front of the camera again but I think that this time there is no food. He seems to come out of nowhere, so I can only presume he’s been around in the hedgerow for a while and the suddenly feels the urge to be nearer to “home”. Female is very still and unaware of his presence. So still she looks like she is sleeping.  01:55 the female looks up for the first time. 30 seconds later and he’s off. Swooping straight up the Ride to the North, low down near the floor and at speed, seeming to pull up and to the west through the trees towards the woods. Female settles down once more. Still drizzling and breezy.

04:02 - the male, once again, speeds down the Ride from the North and lands, once, again, right in front of the camera on the nest tree. It seems to have stopped raining at the moment. The male just looks to the left and right, his feathers being ruffled by the wind. It looks like he calls out and fluffs up his feathers at 04:07 as the female looks up at the opening at the same time.

04:08 - He’s off again, straight up the Ride, hard and fast and low….. 

04:11 - Female turns the eggs again….and settles.

05:19 - Male appears on the long branch on the Ride, near the Lodge. The branch is moving a bit in the wind and its raining slightly again. He lands and the ”bob” of his head reveals a mole that he’s brought in for her. He drops slightly into the box to do a quick passover of the mole.

05:22 - The male hangs around a few seconds before doing his usual swoop down at speed and going hard and low to the North.

05:41 - Female leaves the nest and seems to head to the East or towards the water, couldn’t see because of the rain streaks on the screen. 05:50 - She returns to the box, turns the eggs and settles down for the night (day!).   Well, she didn’t really settle down until at least 08:30, she was fidgeting and turning the eggs. There’s still a bit of rain around and the wind is still breezy.

 

5th/6th April

23:49 - Male flies onto the long branch near the Lodge, carrying food in his beak. It is still very breezy and you can see his feathers ruffling and the branch swaying. Female in the box seem to know he’s around.

23:50 - Male swoops down and lands on the box. He drops down straight away and passes over the food. He stays down in the box for only a few seconds before climbing up and sitting on the ledge of the box for 8 minutes or so.

23:58 - Male flies off to the East down the drive..... and the female swallows the rat!

 

 

03:39 - Female breaks an egg.  This egg was not a viable one.  Hard to take, but hopefully three will have a better chance than four

03:42 - Female swallows a piece of egg shell. Cleaning up the bird box.

The female sits on the remaining eggs for the rest of the night without leaving. That is now over 24 hours without leaving the eggs. She’s never done that before.

 

06:34 - A Roe deer appears bellow the nest box and grazes around for a few minutes before heading down the Ride to the East.

 

6th/7th April

A very cloudy and blustery day with heavy rain at times. Too dark in the box to see any activity apart from fidgeting. 

20:45 - Female leaves the nest and reveals only two eggs. She flies off to the East or the South….can’t really  make out where she goes. Weather is atrocious, which make viewing very, very difficult!

21:02 - Female come in to the nest box from the East. She sits straight down on the eggs.

00:50 - Male flies in with a rat from the North, down the Ride. Gets straight down into the box to pass over the food and climbs out again. Female eats it straight away. Male sits on the ledge for a while. The branches are swaying in the wind.

00:57 - Male flies off. As usual, swooping down to ground level and heading North, up the Ride seeming to rise and swing off to the West towards the woods.

01:38 - Male flies in once again from the North with food in his mouth and lands on the short stump below the nest box (unusual). He stays there for a few seconds before jumping up to the opening of the nest box. He’s straight down passing over what looks like a mouse, which the Female has eaten almost before the male has climbed back up to the opening.

01:39 - This time, the male flies off down the Ride, to the East.

06:57 - Infra red light goes off.

 

7th/8th April

 

Looks like a fine but cold night..

20:49 - Female goes out of the box, showing two eggs….Looking like she flies off to the East.

21:06 - Female comes flying in from the North, down the Ride. And lands on edge of box. After 30 seconds or so she jumps down and turns the eggs and settles.

 

00:57 - Male appears on the long branch near the Lodge.- after only a few seconds, he swoops low and lands on the box carrying a rat. He’s straight down and passes over the food,, climbing straight out, waiting for a few seconds then flies off down the Ride too the East.

 

01:42 - female looks up to the opening in the box for a minute before climbing out to leave the nest for the second time, flying North up the Ride and seems to land in the Ride camera tree.

01:54 - Female seems to fly out from lower down on the same Camera tree and up to the long branch. Within a few seconds, she’s swooped down to the box, jumped in and settled on the eggs.

 

Over the past few hours she has look up towards the opening many time, and seems a little agitated….

 

05:18 - Female leaves the nest once again. - She flies North up the Ride and suddenly climbs high above the long branch and into the canopy.

05:33 - She returns to the nest and again lands on the opening and jumps straight down and settles once again.

 

Lights go out at 06:35:

 

8th/9th April

 

Dry but cloudy day, lights come on at 17:18! - very early

No action to be seen at the nest.

 

17:31 - A couple of Jays are poking around in the branches in front of the nest box for a couple of minutes…..lights go back out until -19:45 tonight. Female still settled on the eggs. You got to admire their dedication…..

20:30 - Male arrives on the box after flying in from the wood on the left and then down the Ride…. - Has no food!  

20:32 - Male flies off to the East down the Ride 

20:38 - Female leaves the nest, swooping up the Ride to the north before rising and turning through the trees towards the woods in the West. Still two eggs.

20:51 - Male flies in from the woods in the west landing on the long branch.

20:52 - Female comes in from same direction and lands on the box. So at the same time we have the Male on the Long Branch and the female on the box.20:53 - she drops into the box. Has she eaten? -

20:55 - Male heads North, up the Ride….

22:53 - Male flies in from the West through the trees to the long branch, definitely carrying some “big” food!   Female looking up to the opening…..

22:54 - female climbs out of box and flies to the long branch, lands and snatched the food out of the males beak, who then jumps straight up to a higher branch.  The female then flies off to a branch in the trees in the hedgerow, behind the Ride tree Camera.

23:02 - female flies in from the North and lands the box - settle on the eggs straight away.

 

00:48 - Male flies inform the west, either from the woods or from the hedgerow trees with prey in his mouth and lands on the long branch. Female is aware, looking up to the opening.

00:49 - Male lands on the box with prey and passes over food.

01:01 - Female swallows prey and then leaves the nest, once again flying up the ride and swooping high Into the Ride camera tree upper canopy.

01:08 - Female returns to the nest box, once again from the North, down the Ride, drops down into the nest box and settles.

 

03:20 - Female leaves the nest box, yet again!. She flies in the same direction as before, up the Ride but this time stays los and actually flies into a branch separating some twigs as she flies through!

03:30 - Females arrives back again from the same direction as before, North. Lands on opening, jumps dow a few seconds later.

 

05:04 - Female leaves the box…..Flies agin to the North, up the Ride but unlike last time, she flies into the canopy again….

05:17 - Female arrives back and once again from the same direction. Lands on the box and once again straight down to settle on the eggs.

 

05:41 - Male arrive at the nest box with prey in his mouth. And lands right on the opening. 

05:42 - Male flies down the Ride and into the canopy above the Ride camera tree.

05:48 - It seems like she’s just managed to get it down! She turns her attention to the eggs and settles down again.

 

Lose infra red at 06:36….looks like an blue sky day to come - cold but fine….definate frost on the ground.

 

9th/10th April

Sunny during the day - but cold.

14:42 - Jays are showing interest once again….

No other action around the box - 19:42 infra red light becomes active.

 

20:46 - Female leaves nest box - Swoops low but soars high into the canopy again above the Ride Camera tree, before flying off towards the woods in the west.

20:56 - Female arrives back at the nest box, a few seconds on the lip before dropping down onto the eggs and settles.

 

22:36 - Male flies in from the West, probably the wood….and lands on the long branch but right on the thin bits at the end , not on the main branch where he normally does. Within a few seconds he arrive at the nest box but without food.

22:38 he flies off to the East Down the Ride.

 

00:16 - Female leaves the nest and as she has done quite a Lot recently, swoops up the drive but soars into the canopy.

00:27 - She returns the same way she left.

00:33 - once again….Female leaves the nest and as she has done quite a Lot recently, swoops up the drive but soars into the canopy.

00:48 - female returns….. and settles.

 

04:58 - Female leaves the nest box yet again….Repeats the same movement as last time, into the canopy.

05:05 -  Lands and settles as before.

 

06:34 - looses infra red .

 

Well the 11th of April is 30 days since she laid her first egg. The incubation period generally for Tawny Owls is 30 days and we still have two eggs.

We know she got rid of two eggs, but we dont know which ones.... whether they were the first two, the last two, or indeed any other mix.... I can only presume that she knew that those two eggs weren't viable, therefore, I can only presume that she knew that the remaining two eggs were different. 

If the two left are the last two then it will be another four or five days before they hatch. It is not unknown for a nest to fail altogether..... and when it does, the owls will either try again, or move on.

but thats Nature for you.... so let's keep our fingers crossed and hope for a positive outcome.

For the on-going story of what happens next click on..... 

Tawny Owl Nest Box Project 2022 (January to April - Part 2).
 

 

 

 


Comments

Tony Mitchell(non-registered)
An excellent diary of the Tawny Owl.
You should be in their Parliament?
Great stuff a testament to your abilities. You are by far a great “in my optimistic opinion” a fantastic ornithologist. Well done
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