This is the story of how coronavirus lockdown was made better by the family of Tawny Owls who moved in with us.
Ever since we have lived in our house, we have heard Tawny owls calling at night. We always lie in bed listening to the sound of their amazing calls. The "Hoohoohooo" of the boy and the girl replying "Kewick" - you can hear them chatting long into the night. Sometimes it is quite hard to get to sleep!!
As we knew that we already had Tawny owls nearby, we decided to build a nesting box for them. You can read more about how we did this here.
We put the owl box up the week after Christmas. We chose to put is on a sturdy tree on the edge of some woods. We made sure that is was high enough that cats could not get at it. We also made sure it was facing away from the wind and rain (most of the time anyway!)
We kind of forgot about the owl box after that as nothing very much had happened for a while. Around 15 months later we were star gazing and suddenly we heard a female Tawny Owl call coming from our box! It was amazing to realise that we had an owl in our box. It was so exciting. For the rest of the evening we listened for the owl instead of looking for stars. We were lucky enough to see the male owl return to the box that evening.
After that first night we sat every evening, watching and listening for them. We noticed that at around sunset we would hear the female calling quietly from the box. The blackbirds seemed a little upset by this and their alarm call was extremely noisy and annoying. On some evenings we heard the male nearby, at which point the female would reply enthusiastically. He would then fly into the box and give her food, though he was too quick for us to see what it was.
A week later we decided to turn our Raspberry Pi computer into an OwlCam so we could see when the owls came in to give each other food and what the food was. After that we were waking up every morning and rushing to the computer to see if we had caught them on camera. For the first few days we did not see the female very much. The male returned to the nest several times a night. We then noticed that she was getting up and leaving the nest and we were a worried that something was not right. However we then heard the call of owlets from the next box and we realised that she was off hunting for them. Every night we see her and we some times we get videos of them both bringing the food back to the nest all through the night. If you want to see some of these videos please click here.
As we could see the mum and dad were bringing food back instead of sitting on the eggs so we thought we had some Owlets. If we listened quietly as the sun was going down we could also hear a different kind of call coming from OurOwl box. One night we had a video of OurOwlet. If you want to see it click here