Find Out More About The Tawny Owl

Eschenbach have chosen the tawny owl as their bird of the year. Find out more here.

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Eschenbach's bird of the year: the tawny owl

Tawny owl 1

Appearance

The Tawny owl measures 40cm - it's one of the biggest owls in Germany. It is recognizable by its rounded face, round black eyes and strongly curved yellow beak. Unlike most owls, it does not have an egret on its head. Thanks to the strong variation of colours of plumage - going from grey, to brown and bright red, it is good at camoflaguing itself.

It is easier to photograph the tawny owl in the darkness of the forest. In fact, it enjoys forests and agricultural areas, clearings and fields. It is important for it to find a place where the food is varied, with perches and old trees with cavities to hide and raise the chicks.

However, old trees are increasingly being removed from forests and parks. But the bird of the year knows how to adapt. In case of necessity, it nests in the barns, the corners of houses, the cemeteries, the castles and the ruins.

Tawny owl 2

Behaviour

Our bird of the year has a sinister reputation. Its well-known hoot, a reserved and melancholic "Hu-Hu-Huuuhuuuu", is the male’s one during the nuptial parade. It takes place in winter and autumn. It is true that a couple always stays together, however, they usually spend their summers separately. After this time of separation, a little romance is on the cards. The male takes care of the female, feeds her and shows her his hunting skills.

As the winter settles and passes, the female lays in her cave. She is protected and nourished by the male. About one month after hatching, the young owls leave the nest. They remain in the neighbourhood and are generously cared for and given prey rich in nutrients by their parents, two talented hunters!

The Tawny owl’s wings are perfectly suited for silent flights. The silky feathers allow a very good airflow. Thus, it can hunt mice, rats, rabbits, moles or small birds. Amphibians, beetles and worms are also part of the diet. The silent hunters are in their element at dusk and at night. They rely on their ears, which are hidden beneath their feathers, to capture every little sound made by their target.

 

Potential threats

Because of their adaptability, owls are quite abundant in Germany. However, rangers are thinking of the future and wish to protect them. Old trees with cavities should be protected. Self-built nest boxes are an excellent alternative, but not the ideal solution.

Furthermore, owls are often victims of road accidents. Mice crossing the road in car’s headlights are easy prey. It happens that the car thus crushes the owls. Another source of danger are fine fences and power lines, which are not recognized in time by the birds. Chimneys and ventilation pits without protective grids can also be considered as a shelter as they can be trapped in.

 

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