Tuesday 7 June 2011

Tuesday 7th June

When I was walking around one of the sites in Dunkeld last week I came across a blackbird alarm calling.  If you ever hear a bird alarm calling then it is wise to have a look around because it could be something really exciting that it is warning off (or it could just be that you are too close to the nest).  In this instance on closer inspection of the site I found a juvenile owl sitting not far above me in a young pine tree.  It appeared to be a tawny owl and must have only been a few weeks old.  It was still present on the following days but had moved to a different tree where it sat taking in its surroundings and waiting for its mother to come back to feed it.  An adult tawny owl was also spotted the following day hunting in the morning so it could well have been its mother.  Tawny owls usually lay two or three eggs so it may have had brothers and sisters in the area as well but they were not seen on these occasions.

Before owlets can fly at around 5 weeks old they start exploring the area outside the nest.  This is known as branching and it is at this time of year when owlets may be found on the ground. This is usually the result of them falling out of the trees but these owlets are exceptional climbers and will climb back into the tree, usually at night.  The mother will also come down and feed the owlet on the ground but not in the presence of people.  This is why it is essential to leave a juvenile owl where you have found it if it is not any danger and is not injured.  The owlet will be cared for by its mother for two or three months before it will take off and start life on its own.

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