We rarely see our Tawny Owls, but often hear them at dusk high up in the Horse Chestnut trees.
The size of a Wood Pigeon, the Tawny Owl has a rounded body and head, with a ring of dark feathers around its face surrounding the black eyes. It has a reddish-brown back with paler feathers on the underside.
Only the male utters the familiar drawn-out hoot: both males and females make the well-known 'keewik' call.
Established pairs almost never leave their territories and roost in tall trees, especially where there is some cover from ivy. Their short wings give them great manoeuvrability in woodland. They feed at night on small mammals and rodents, small birds, frogs, fish, insects and worms.
Although the UK's most widespread owl, the Tawny Owl is in decline and has Amber RSPB status.
Tawny owls mate for life and like to nest in tree holes or large nest boxes. The typical clutch of two or three eggs is incubated by the female for about 30 days. The parent birds drive their youngsters out of their territory after the breeding season. As a result, nearly two-thirds of youngsters die of starvation in their first year, unable to find a vacant territory.
To Learn More
Visit the RSPB and don't forget to join the Big Garden Birdwatch
Copyright © Karen Meadows 2018