It has been an exciting week! After just about a month in the nest box, our YewView Tawny female started to behave differently on Wed night, when I logged into the camera at home. I can access the Yew View cameras both on my phone and on my PC, but the image is not as clear as when I am actually on site. She seemed very unsettled. After watching for a little while, I was sure one of the eggs had hatched and I could not wait to get on site and up to the computers to take a closer look!
As I played the footage back, I was delighted to see that both eggs had hatched, about 8 hours apart. We had 2 tint tawny owlets!
I have spent the last 4 years trying to attract tawnies into boxes, both at home and at Yew View and this was the moment I had been waiting for! As you can imagine, I was just a little excited and spent several hours going through all the footage trying to extract some clips showing the very best moments. What an incredible privilege to be able to be watch the story of this little family unfold before my eyes!
The male had been pretty busy, bringing food in every night, although sometimes only a single food item per night. What I had noticed though, is that rats were beginning to form a larger part of this. He was catching young rats, some almost double the size of the wood mice that had formed the vast majority of the food prey up until now. This one was quite small and she managed to swallow it in one go!
With the female being quite unsettled leading up to the hatch, she moved around quite a bit, giving me glimpses of the first egg pipping. This is when the chick begins to break through the egg shell…
Trawling through the hours when I felt the first egg hatch, I managed to identify the point that our first owlet hatched, as the female removed the half egg shell and we got the first glimpse of the tiny, wet chick….
It is great that it happened during daylight hours as we are able to have the images in colour! I was totally transfixed!
The footage sooner gave me another glimpse of the owlet as it began to dry out. Tawny chicks are covered in a fluffy white down and will remain like this for a few weeks until their feather start growing through.
Over the next few hours, she sat tight, keeping this new little one warm as its down dried. Occasionally I was treated to a little glimpse as she moved around. The next clip also shows a dead wood mouse next to her. Listen to the wonderful vocalisation between the two. The female is making quiet calls that I have never heard her make before and the owlet is responding with a raspy reply…
By later that afternoon, I was delighted to see that the 2nd egg was also chipping… the next chick was on its way too!
This is the first view of both of the chicks…
It was not until later that night, when she left the box briefly, that I got my first view of both tiny chicks…. how amazing!!
As you can imagine, this is going to be a very busy time for me! I am hoping to share the story of this wonderful tawny family with you over the coming months…..