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Look out around a tawny owl nest site - if you are human or a squirrel!



Tawny owls will fiercely defend an active nest site. Only when absolutely necessary should one get close to such a site, and only then having taken adequate safety precautions. An adult owl (likely to be the female), using her razor-sharp talons, may well inflict a serious injury on any perceived threat to her chicks. Eric Hosking, the pioneering bird photographer of the mid-20th century, famously lost an eye in such an attack.


Throughout incubation and the first two or so weeks after hatching, female tawny owls remains at the nest where they are fed by the male. They leave only briefly, often at dusk and dawn presumably to defecate and regurgitate pellets.

Once the chicks are both old enough to maintain their own body heat and when they start to become rather boisterous, the female will often roost away from the nest site. However, she often remains in sight of the nest site and vigilant to danger. Should a threat approach too close to the nest, she is likely to launch an attack to defend her offspring. In this (rather poor quality) video, the response to a squirrel entering the nest box is immediate and effective ...


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