We have three pairs of tawny owl breeding in the vicinity of Kindrogan, and one pair nest every year in a nest box right by the centre.
We had confirmation that at least one egg had hatched when a chick could be heard begging for food within the box at 23:30 on 26th April, quite an early date. By 10th May one of the youngsters was very boldly sitting in the entrance to the box watching me at 09:30, though it quickly ducked down out of sight when the female gave a warning call from a tree nearby. The next day, just as participants were arriving for the Wildlife Photography course, we found two owlets out of the box – one at the base of a tree, the other right out in the open on a path.
Tawny owl young leave the nest well before they can fly, moving around and climbing using their strong talons and beaks (a bit like a parrot!) – they are known as ‘branchers’.
For the last fortnight we have been playing ‘spot the owl’. We know they are there somewhere, but they can move considerable distances overnight. Sometimes their position is given away by the distinctive begging calls, even during the day, or the blackbirds find them first and noisily mob them. On some days they sit in very silly places and are easy to spot – one sat all day on the very top of a small tree, looking just like the fairy atop a Christmas tree!
To date both owlets have survived and are growing rapidly.