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Breeding Tawny Owls

Saturday, May 2nd 2020

At this time of year owls are making use of the nest boxes both on the reserve and on the wider MOD training area. This year appears to have been a good 'vole' year and this should bode well for the different owl species that live locally. Tawny Owls are the most common in this part of Yorkshire, these birds are thought to be monogamous and partner for life. 

Interesting finds have been made over the years by the bird ringers. Usually the female is the only adult to be present inside the box however, the photograph below shows a juvenile from earlier in the year alongside the female who was still sitting on eggs! The darker bird on the left is an 'old' chick.

There is a lot of variation in the plumage of these beautiful animals and they can vary between chestnut brown and almost black like the one shown here.

No matter what colour they all have areas of both lighter and darker tones that help to camouflage the bird when perched within its favoured woodland habitat.

Many of the young will be a week or more old by now. The ones pictured here are approximately fourteen days old.

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