Friday, January 13, 2017

A Brave Barn Owl Sees off a Tawny Owl Attack

Watch how this barn owl holds its own when a tawny owl twice its size flies into the tree it is roosting in!

The barn owl bows its head when it spots the tawny coming in, then goes into an impressive defense posture: head lowered, wings up and extended back. This pose is known as 'manteling': making a mantle of his wings to make himself look bigger. Like a superhero posturing or a bullfighter fanning out a cape. The two birds lock together in battle then in an instant the barn owl has won the spat. But the tawny is not deterred that easily and moments later it's back for another go. Again the plucky barn owl stands its ground in defending what is potentially a future nest site.

Interestingly not long after filming the tawny male I captured this footage of the male tawny back at a nest site it had already occupied and preening with its mate.

The tawnys have already begun their courtship process and the way they sit so close and tenderly plucking at one another's feathers is so touching - who said owls don't have feelings!


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