Bird of the month – February 2023

Have you seen the bird of the month?

For February 2023, it is the: Tawny Owl (Strix aluco)

Tawny Owls

Where can I find them?

They are not often seen in the reserve, and you are more likely to hear them calling.
The best places to hear them are close to the footpaths towards the school’s footpath or in Netley Meadow at night or at dawn.

About the species

The Tawny Owl has a rounded head, large dark eyes, and a hooked beak. They are a mottled reddish-brown, with a paler underside in colour.

The average life span of a Tawny Owl is around four years.

The species is on the UK amber list, meaning its population and conservation status is of moderate concern.

They eat small mammals and birds.

What do they sound like?

Their song is too-wit too-woo.  But this is not the call of a single bird but the male and female calling each other.  The female makes a ‘too-wit’ sound and the male answers with ‘too-woo’.

Where do they nest and what is the nest made from?

They normally nest in tree cavities where available but can use purpose-built nest boxes as well.  Only one clutch of eggs is laid in late winter or early spring.  A normal clutch size is 2-3 laid asynchronously every 2 days or so.  Incubation normally lasts around 30 days.

The young normally fledge after five weeks, however they will not go far and spend time sitting in tree branches, known as their ‘branching’ phase. They will depend on both parents, for food, for three months after leaving the nest.

Tawny Owl