Sunday, 31 August 2008

Little Owl release update 1 week and 1 day

Saturday August 30 2008. Its now one week and one day after the door opened and the Little Owls were released. I placed the food on the hack board at 1934hrs BST. The weather was fantastic, no clouds and hardly a any movement of wind, and it was very warm in the early evening sun. This time there were no Little owls waiting inside the release aviary and I had clear view of the hack board where 6 dead day old chicks lay in wait to be eaten. At 1941hrs the first Little Owl appeared from my left and south of the release aviary, it had not come from far probably about 50-60 metres and roosting in the evergreen trees. Upon arrival it was not that confident, it certainly wanted the food but was quite wary of something. Note: this is great bit of behaviour showing that this Owl is not coming straight in with confidence but now does show some real wild behaviour. Finally after 11 minutes flying back and forward it took food and flew not away but back into the aviary with it and began eating. 1957hrs second Little Owl appears on top of the release aviary and after 4 minutes take a food but this times flies to my left and into the trees, and now out of sight.

At 2012 hours there's now 3 owls inside and on the aviary, leaving one of course consuming in the trees, this now makes 4 back. The food disappears quickly with just 2 food items left. 2016hrs Little owl 5 flies in, this time however from behind me, flying over my head but again alighting on the roof of the aviary before quite quickly grabbing food and flying into the large Chestnut tree just right of the release aviary. And finally (with great relief) at 2022hrs Little owl number 6 flies in from the right and flying at speed grabs food off of the board and continues to fly some 100 metres away and I manage to get a picture of it but its now quite dark. They are still roosting quite local but the beginning signs are there of a breaking up of the group. Indeed I continued to monitor or rather listen as it was now very dark right up until 2300hrs. They became very vocal around 2245hrs there was obviously some verbal squabble going on. The calls were normal yelps and rasping and to my surprise spring song (which can be done at anytime of year) this song is done by the male, but when one of them started it was like all Little Owl hell broke lose, as they all vocalised together. This was interesting as 3 of them were obviously close to the release aviary, but the other 3 were around the paddock and though I could not see them they were obviously on the stone walls and fence posts. Its obvious that now 1 week after release they are operating much further away from the release aviary. There vocal interactions means they are becoming less tolerant of each other. We are probably not long now from seeing real distribution begin, which means monitoring further away from my comfortable very wet log.

1 comment:

Cherry Barlow said...

Viewing these images for the first time.loved the photo of the Little Owl in silhouette coming into land,with Talons out,great stuff..