Friday, July 16, 2010

10 Owl Tours - Little Owls

We had three owl safaris in total during the Wildlife Festival and they all turned out to be a great success. We saw 10 owls on each - in fact I've been thinking that if I do these walks again I'll call them the 10 Owl Tours! One really special sighting was little owls hunting.
Afterwards, I couldn't resist putting up a hide nearby and spent the following week photographing them.
Little owls usually hunt insects, beetles, grasshoppers, moths, earthworms and the odd small rodent. This one caught a grasshopper.
I watched them most days until dusk fell. As the light faded more moths came out. This is an orange underwing.
And this picture was taken on their lucky night. The male actually caught a shrew for its chicks.
It was fun to also watch the chicks becoming more and more adventurous.
They took shelter in a little rabbit hole under a log during the day. I captured this chick rushing out from it to grab a small beetle.
It gave me an idea and the next day I took them a few beetles in a bowl. There was a lot of head bobbing before they ventured to try one - but they soon polished them off.
The fence posts were a favourite vantage point for the parents to keep watch from. Sometimes the fledgling owls would take up position there too.
Tired of waiting for food, this one ruffled up its feathers and flew off to join its father in a nearby hawthorn bush. But it wasn't long before a pair of crows flew dangerously near - crows will easily take a little owl - and it took cover in the middle of the hawthorn.
It was none the worse for the experience and soon joined the adult female.
You don't need to worry if you see a little owl on the ground. They are perfectly capable of going up a vertical tree trunk and if they get tired they will hook their beak into the trunk and take a rest.


  1. Lovely portrait pic of the Little Owl on the post, Robert. I thoroughly enjoyed my time on your Owl walk.
    Vince Cowell

  2. What an amazing series of photos. How long did you spend in your blind each day?

  3. Thanks John. It depends. I try to spend as much time as possible and have been known to be holed up all day!