By the end of January I discovered a Little Owl on the roof of my neighbours garden house. The experience around this time of the year shows that one owl means two owls and very soon I discoverd the second, very shy one. I guess it is the Belgian owl from last year who lost the partner by death.
Fingers crossed that after four years of 'making plans' they will breed successfully.
In spring 2010 I visited Les Chauffours in the Dordogne, France, where a family of Long-eared Owls lived in the trees around the terrace of the accommodation. During my two weeks stay I had some opportunities to photograph the adult owls. Photographing their offspring was an other story as the were hiding during the day high in a Norway Spruce. On the last day of this holiday I noticed that they were gone and finally I found them back high in a cherry tree. I often told friends that I would never forget how they all looked down to me but I completely forgot that I photographed this scenery. Until today, I never believed stories of other nature photographers that they found photos back on their harddisk(s) that they had completely forgotten. Yesterday I noticed a Little Owl in my garden and for some reason I took my 2010 harddisk and discoverd forgotten photos of the Long-eared owls......I welcomed myself to the world of amnesia!
The Little Owls are still around but since three nights they are quiet (instead of screaming), I also noticed that they are not both visiting my birdhouse anymore. Not surprising as the Jackdaws are in or on the birdhouse constantly. More by surprise I discoverd them both between the roofing tiles.....I thought that a dead mouse was lying on the tiles. When I took my binoculars the dead mouse has the same pattern as the feathers of the owls and some minutes later two heads came up and I saw this scene.
Last Friday afternoon, more by coincidence, I found out that the Little Owl has an other favourite place.....my neighbours declined garden house. I was sitting in the kitchen and noticed a brown bird on the roof of this garden house and assumed that this was a female Blackbird. In contrast with a normal 'Blackbird' this one did not move for a while and when I looked through my telelens I saw a Little Owl. For the variation of images I'm happy that the owl is not only sitting in the birdhouse. The new problem/challenge is a magnolia tree and a lot of branches in front of my neighbours garden house.
Yesterday, I saw the Little Owl in the birdhouse escaping the rain. This morning the owl was sitting again on the roof top of my neighbours garden house. As some of the branches were disturbing the composition I needed to create a higher position. While I was busy in my kitchen with my tripod and cans of cat food, the Little Owl did not pay any attention to me.
Finally I nailed it and no branches were in front of the Little Owls head! I climbed on a chair and made some photo's when I saw that the Little Owl became nervous.......after this photo the Little Owl was gone.......my neighbour let her two dogs out.
But, I will not complain as I realize that seeing an owl from the kitchen chair is a priviledge!
A few days ago, my attention was caught by something brownish in the birdhouse; the manner of flight suggested that it was an owl. Yesterday my son informed me that a little owl was sitting in birdhouse while he was playing (jumping and screaming) a Wii game in front of the window with birdhouse view. Obviously this little owl can handle this (and our) noise as he took up residence in the birdhouse. New year, new game, new chances!
Two weeks ago I heard a noise in the birdhouse and noticed a lot of bird dirt on, in, under it and under a plum tree nearby. A few days later I heard a owl call early in the evening and looked into the direction of the birdhouse and there she was, the little owl from last year.
Noise + shit + little owl = breeding owls in my birdhouse = happy Silvia!
After three evenings observing the birdhouse with the binocolars, I found out that I was happy with a dead sparrow (dutch saying) as there was no life in or near the birdhouse. The third night I made a lot of photos with the interval function but again NO sign of any owl. A few days later I received an email that the little owls are using the same birdhouse (nearby 350 m) as last year.
Again I will not have sweet little owlets in my garden but until now it is not the end of the story.......I assume that she must have very hungry owlets at the moment because she is using my birdhouse for hunting mouses at day. More by accident (I was busy with the laundry) I saw her:
In March and April this year, I wrote some blogs about the two Little Owls who visited my birdhouse daily until they decided to breed somewhere else. A few days ago, I received a message that 'my' female owl was found with three owlets nearby (350 metres).
Unfortunately there is a mouse (food) shortage and two owlets already died. This photo of the last living owlet is taken just after ringing.
I'm not sure if this little Owl will survive. Also I'm very curious why there is shortage of mice? Would there be a connection between the pastures treated with Glyphosate?
The only thing left are memories and some pictures!
The first photo is from 7 April with the male and female owl and the second photo from the female is taken on the 8th of April.
My Little Owls are definitively gone. I hope that the season is not lost for them and that they have found an alternative/other breeding place. I’m very sure now that the destruction of the grassland (near the birdhouse) is the reason for their departure.
On 27th March, the complete grassland was treated with Glyphosate; by that time I did not know it was Glyphosate as the farmer is treating the land with a poisonous substance more often.
On the 7th and 8th of April both owls came together and stayed much longer around the birdhouse. I could read the females owl complete ring number and learned that she was born in 2010 in a small village nearby. Their behaviour was obviously, they were mating and very busy in the birdhouse so I took it for granted that they would moving in soon.
But, on Thursday 9 April the complete farmland was ploughed and changed from a green into a brown field and with this action it lost its function as food resource. In the night from the 9th to the 10th April I heard them for the last time and since then they did not return.
Depending on the weather, this little fellow, also known as male Little Owl, always comes first to the birdhouse to call the female. As I photograph them from behind a curtain with the window a little bit open, I hear her answers and within one minut she normally appears.
OWL YOU NEED IS LOVE!
Yesterday evening it was different. The female Little Owl flew up from my garden and as soon she landed on the birdhouse I heard a kind of welcome sound. Immediately I knew that the other owl was inside the house. As they become active when it's almost dark, I could not see the other owl. Later, when I changed the brightness in the RAW-converter, I noticed that the male owl was sitting and welcoming her at the entrance of the birdhouse.
I hope that this story will continue......
Bring the action!
Like every year, I hear the Little Owls (Athene noctua) screaming nearby but on March 1st, it was the first time that I saw two owls sitting on my birdhouse. One week later, when I came back in the evening from a visit to the moor frog area, I heard them shout as soon as I get out of my car and I knew that they were nearby. One owl was sitting in the birch above the birdhouse. Very slowly I put down my tripod and with a shuttertime of 25 seconds I did not expect any reasonable image. After 5 images the other owl came and together they disappeared.
As I have reasons to believe that there is real chance that they will use my birdhouse for the next generation, I created a new page on my website 'Little Owl'. Of course I hope that the day will come that I an 'catch' them at day.
Jibt dir dit Leben mal een Buff, denn weene keene Träne. Lach Dir'n Ast und setz Dir druff und baumle mit de Beene.