I can’t quite believe the difference the last week has made to our two beautiful owlets at Yew View. This week, they have become much stronger and more mobile and their feathers are starting to appear through their fluffy down.
On average, there are 4 prey items being brought in by the male every 24 hrs. The female has started to leave the owlets at night now and go out and hunt herself, especially if the male has not appeared. This week, we had some common shrews coming in and this is the first time I have recorded this prey species…
At the beginning of the week, the female was still breaking up the food for you youngsters. This clip shows her bringing in a wood mouse, the commonest prey species, and feeding it to them.
On one occasion, on the 14th , when the owlets are just 8 days old, one begins to investigate the shrew itself…..
When you set up a camera within a box, you hope you have got the positioning right…. when the female chose to feed the owlets here, it was just right…. this is one of my favourite clips so far! What a complete privilege to be able to witness such a scene!!
By the 16th April, with the owlets at 10 days old, they are showing a real interest in the prey and attempting to manipulate it and eat it on their own, especially when the male brought in a vole, but the female was out hunting…..
Whereas most of the prey is wood mice and voles, this week we had another bird prey species, to add to the tree creeper and gold crest we have already had. This time, the male bought in a male chaffinch at 5am. I presume he catches them whilst they are roosting…
By mid week, we were starting to get better daylight views of the owlets, as they are getting too large to constantly brood under the female. They are also getting more active and their eyes are opening…
Then, we reached a near milestone…. now owlet attempted to eat a mouse unaided! It is incredible at the tender age of 11 days, the instinct to gulp down and swallow prey is there. If this mouse had been a bit smaller, he would have managed it. After almost 15 minutes of gulping and struggling, it finally gave up and waited for the female to return to feed it to them.
Wood mice were the most common prey item and, with the owlets becoming much more mobile and getting hungrier, mealtimes are getting a little more frantic now!
At 12 days old, the new feathers are now appearing clearly through the down and tiny primary feathers can be seen. The owlets are much more active throughout the day, exploring the box and moving around…
That evening, when the female was out hunting, the male brought in a vole. The owlets reacting immediately and the larger one grabbed the vole and was moving it around within the box, even though it was quite large! Too big for it to manage on its own, yet the owlet was noticeable stronger and more able to manipulate this prey….
By the next day, when a smaller prey item was brought in, the larger owlet grabbed it and managed to swallow it whole! Its first whole prey feed… at just 12 days old!
Their strength just continues to grow, as well as their balance and ability to move around. Large prey items still need help from the female..
The female is spending longer and longer away hunting and she often goes and has a bath just before returning to the box, all wet and soggy!
By 13 days old, the primary feathers are clearly apparent and the owlets have started to preen themselves. Their eyes are open and they are clearly looking around and responding to sight as well as sound in the box…
I took lots of screen captures this week and these are all uploaded on to the summary page on my main website. You can follow the owlets progress on this page as well as my blog HERE. This page has all the latest videos as well as the screen captures, all in one place!
Luckily, when I am not on site, I can access the cameras on my phone via the iCatcher Console app. I often tweet images I have captured from here, so check out my Twitter stream (@katemacrae) as well. This is on the front page of my website, if you are not on twitter.
I know my blogs have been rather dominated by tawny owls recently… it is taking up a lot of my time to review, lift and process all this wonderful footage and, as it is the first time I have ever been lucky enough to film it, I want to make the most of this amazing insight into their lives!
I also captured the tawny on the kingfisher post one night…
There is plenty of other wildlife on site and I captured this rather lovely male Great spotted woodpecker on the kingfisher post this week..
The male and female kingfisher are still hunting here regularly as well and the badgers are in and out of the sett.
My female tawny is still sitting on her 4 eggs at home and my jackdaw has 6 eggs, due to hatch next week. I also have 2 blue tits on eggs and a great tit. You can see these cameras live on my website. It’s all ‘go’ here and it is difficult to keep up with all the footage!