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Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Little Owl Juveniles at a New Site - on 16th June, 2012

I've not posted on this blog for a while - that's because I've been away on a 10-day holiday in Speyside, Scotland. It'll take me a while to process the couple of thousand or so images that I took whilst away, so here is a post relating to something I didn't have time to do anything with before I went away.

My friend with the Barn Owls has, on a couple of occasions, seen Little Owl in his garden. We've had attempts to discover where they might have come from, but had no luck. Then we had a tip-off from Rhys as to where they were (thank you Rhys!). We hadn't reckoned on finding owls in the roof of an occupied house! One adult bird was spotted on the morning of 14th June, but by the time we'd found somewhere to park, and walked back, it had vanished.

My friend - I can't keep calling him that so, for security reasons, from now on I'll refer to him as Titus White - went back to the location and found an adult owl feeding two juveniles. Up until this point, only a single adult bird had been seen.

I'd made up my mind to go back on the evening of Saturday 16th, but it threw it down with rain, and was quite windy. However, later, the rain started to ease, and as I knew it would be my last opportunity before I went away, I decided to chance it. It was still raining and windy when I arrived, so I abandonned all throughts of setting up my hide, but managed to park at a point roughly twice the distance away as I would have ben if I'd been in my hide.

Amazingly, in spite of the weather, a Little Owl appeared with a worm, and took it into the roof of the house.

Little Owl - my new Site No.28

It was not long before the adult bird re-emerged and flew off. A short while later, a juvenile also emerged and spent time wandering around the corner of the roof, peering round in a very alert fashion.

Little Owl (juvenile) - my Site No.28

After a while this juvenile popped back into the roof space and a second juvenile emerged. However, the light went through a particularly dull patch whilst this juvenile was out.

Little Owl (juvenile) - my Site No.28
After the second juvenile had ducked back in a second adult bird appeared with another worm - quite a large one!

Little Owl (2nd adult)
This owl took the worm into the roof and then re-emerged shortly after. It was soon joined by a juvenile.

Little Owl

Little Owl (2nd adult + juvenile)

Whilst this was happening on the roof, the first adult was in a nearby tree. It seemed that this bird was trying to encourage the juveniles to be a bit more adventurous. The second adult soon departed, leaving the first encouraging the juveniles.

Little Owl (1st adult)

Little Owl (juvenile)
Wow!! one of the juveniles took the 'leap of faith' off the roof and ended up out of sight in the front garden of the house!

In the space of an hour I saw more worms delivered and two more of the four chicks leave the roof. I don't know if it was their first leap into the unknown - I suspect that it was. However, they will almost certainly have had plenty of room for flight practice in the roof space. Only the smallest of the brood ducked back into the roof and didn't brave a flight.

Here are some more images from what turned out to be one of my most magical Little Owl watching sessions ever.

Little Owl (juvenile)

Little Owl (adult + juvenile)

Little Owl (juveniles)

Little Owl (adult + juveniles)

Little Owl (fledged juvenile)

My concern now is if/when the houseowner will want to repair his roof. This could be a rather short-lived site to monitor!


  1. What an excellent post, good reading and some cracking images. Good to see the Lo tally is still growing, really pleased for you mate.

    1. Thank you Paul. It's all thanks to your good guidance!

  2. Stunning set Richard,lovely to see new life.

    1. Thank you John. It's great to see such a successful couple, and very entertaining too!

  3. Congratulations Richard, cracking images!

    1. Thank you, my hooded friend! My luck was in that evening.

  4. Lovely images Richard, especially the one with the two juveniles together on the roof. Well done for getting these.

    1. Thank you Linda. The juvenile owls are really enchanting!


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