In Dusk We Trust - Some Owling in Co.Durham, North East England, Great Britain
Leo food-pass image copyright Michael Brady, Newcastle.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Tawny Owl Deep Chamber Egg Theft

Heres an interesting one from Spring 2015

22 March 2015
Found a New Tawny Owl nest site, with a clutch in a chimney-like hollow Sycamore.

pic from second visit

The bird came off on the initial visit, but second visit she never moved. (pic above)
The chimney-like cavity was a good 10-12 foot deep, with the clutch only a few feet off the ground.
Id imagined the young would be well on before they manage to climb / flap their way out of this one.... (spoke too soon !)

29 March 2015
Second visit, the female sitting tight
Clutch pic from initial find visit.

3 April 2015
Third visit, - we were expecting young (cp other local nests) ,  Jack (nearly 10 y/old) was happy to go up, he wanted to see the bird sitting, but he called down that there was no bird & only 3 eggs & a hole ! - Three eggs & a hole we echoed - I couldn't wait to get up & see....
Jack shouted down "theres 3 eggs & a hole !"
An egg had indeed gone from the Tawny nest..... what a mystery...
We moved round to have a look at the base for the first time & saw the basal cavity for the first time... our cogs were starting to whirr...

The Evidence - Saw dust at the base of the cavity....

On closer inspection at ground level, it was clear the hole had been dug from underneath & the nest predated from below, with, presumably a Stoat (see him regularly close by) having come in the basal cavity & dug up through several inches of soft decayed timber to access the nest chamber.

The family pondering the mystery....

As we moved of we had a Consolation in the form of nice views of a Roe Deer (doe) while we talked through this unusual encounter.

Post Script - I meant to go back & try to fill it in with some rocks.... possibly a couple of years left in that stem....

No comments: