I arrived at Yew View this week to an empty owl box. It is always sad to see that space barren after such a wonderful few months of watching this fantastic family. What was pleasing though, was that our two lovely owlets were out in the trees, ready to embark on the next step of their journey.
Not having been on site last week, due to a school trip away, I had an awful lot of footage to look through and it started with some of the last footage I got inside the box, before the owlets decided to climb into the box where the camera is housed and completely mess up the focus! At least that happened right at the end of their time in the box, or it would have been highly frustrating!
This footage is of the owlet pair on the 9th May, just 4 days before the larger on left. You can see their adult plumage starting to come through and their primary feathers clearly visible. They are fascinated with the outside world, of course, after spending a month inside the box…
What has been wonderful this year, is the camera footage from outside the nest box. I put this camera up for this year and it has produced some of my favourite footage. These owlets have taken to sitting outside early in the morning and early evening, giving fanatic views of these fluff balls!
The squirrels have been desperate to get inside this box and I filmed some scary encounters earlier in their story. This week, I filmed this rather comical encounter…..
This exterior camera has meant I have been able to film some great footage of prey items being brought into the owlets.
This owlet is not overly impressed with the cockchafer (MayBug) that was provided for an evening snack….
It was on the 13th that the owlet that I put back in the box nearly 2 weeks ago, decided now was the time to go. He climbed on top of the box, before clambering up into the tree safely!
I have filmed all sorts of prey this year and last year. This is the first time I have recorded a mole being brought in. I can’t help but try to picture the scenario on the ground when an owl would have the chance to grab a mole surfacing briefly… incredible!
The owlets are very entertaining. I love the way they rotate and bob their heads…..
One of the most prevalent prey items this year have been rats, which are abundant on the site and provide an excellent meal for these youngsters.
This is a rather long clip, but I didn’t want to crop it down. This is the second time I have filmed a rabbit being brought to the young. As before, it seems that they may have eaten some of it themselves as it would be a heavy weight to carry right up to the nest box……
With its bigger sibling gone, the smaller owlet was soon out on the platform…… but a careless stretch and it slipped from the perch. Luckily, it was ready to go and soon made its way up into the trees safely!
Next year’s new box will be deeper with a larger ‘decking’ area outside to try to eliminate early departure. In fact tawny owlets often fall to the ground. They will make their way up into the trees eventually and parents will be nearby. Many, sadly, are found and taken to rescue centres as well-meaning people think they are abandoned. If you do find an owlet and it is uninjured and in a vulnerable place, simply place it up in a nearby tree. The parents will soon find it and return to feed it.
I spent some time trying to find the owlets in the trees. They are incredibly difficult to see and sit perfectly still, amazingly camouflaged. I spotted one, high in the trees and managed to get a few shots of it. I am delighted that these 2 have survived to branch… and a little sad that the third owlet died.
I am already planning next year’s set-up! Over the summer, I will be building a new box, with friend, Dave Harper, and thinking about the camera angles we will go for, for 2019. I am hoping we will be able to live stream this box next year!