In Dusk We Trust - Some Owling in Co.Durham, North East England, Great Britain
Leucistic Little Owl image copyright Hilary Chambers, Durham.

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....

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