Monday, 2 August 2010

Missing Mum (and where's Dad?)

Missing: Adult Female

My hope that the adult female is sitting on another clutch of eggs seems unlikely now. This morning it became clear that the Owlets who remain completely dependent on Dad are still sleeping in the nestbox. I dug back into the pictures I've taken since May and found the shots I got from the only time I recall seeing Mum and to me she looks like she needed a good meal.. two months ago. My fear that she has met her demise seems - sadly- more realistic. On the other hand, I'm no expert... it may be normal that the younger female Barn Owl is less "stout" than a male of advanced years.

Also bothering me is that Dad hadn't shown up tonight by 9.30pm when I left. A number of the juveniles were hopping between posts and flying around the field, but no sign of him. Maybe he's decided that they need a little encouragement to hunt for themselves? It seemed to be working, if that was the case. To end this update on a more positive note, the eldest Owlet may well have left the nest for good. She has been seen catching her own food and has not returned to the field (in daylight, anyway) for a couple of days. If so, she looked well set for the journey ahead. She needs some luck now finding her own patch - away from roads and with plenty of rodents to keep her going through the winter. Her first year will likely be the toughest.

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