It is of no great surprise to learn that we have Tawny Owls (Strix aluco) resident at our Brecon Hotel, as the abundance of large trees for nest sites and the plentiful supply of small rodents and song birds makes our grounds a much sought after habitat.
Tawny Owls are territorial and breeding pairs will remain in their territory for life. But, what is surprising is how often we see the owls and especially their young. Despite being the most common breeding owl in Britain it is not often seen because they spend the daylight hours high amongst the foliage and ivy of large trees. However, it is at night, especially when there is a decent amount of moon light, that we can see the owls around Gliffaes.
Tawny owls lay from 2-4 eggs in the spring and these hatch after about 4 weeks but, where as most British garden birds leave their nest and are independent after 2-3 weeks the young Tawny Owls are dependent on their parents for up to 3 months. This means as the summer months progress the young owls come out at night to learn to fly and hunt with the adults and get more and more adventurous in their flights as the weeks progress.
The small cherry trees on the lawn across from the hotel seem to be perfect staging points for their short practice flights and its on this piece of lawn and around the enormous cedar tree that you can often see the young owls making short flights and making the distinctive ‘kewick’ calls back and forth to each other. These distinctive calls make the young owls easy to find at night with a torch and last month I was able to get within about 6 feet of one of the owls sitting on a wall.
It will not be long before this year’s chicks are independent and will be off to find their own territory so now is the last chance for you to come and find the young owls before they leave. Go out of the front door (ask me for a torch) and head off for the cedar tree and listen out for the ‘kewick’ calls.
Pay our Brecon accommodation a visit this season for your chance to spot these incredible young birds before they take flight. Book direct for our best rates or give us a call on 01874 730 371 to enquire.