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Tawny Owl Nest Camera | Jan-Feb 2019 | Courtship & Nesting

Feb 2019

Update – Finding, Digging & Defending A Nest

What’s new this month

The tawny owls are still uncertain where to nest. Read on to see them flit between Beech Stump and Ash Stump. And look out for a fascinating clip showing how these owls use both claw and wing to dig out scrapes inside these boxes. Meanwhile they are also defending their nest choices from invading birds of prey – like kestrels.

Click here for my March update where you can read about the very latest in the tawny owls’ story

Scroll down for my January log where you can see the tawny owls courting – listen out for their unique ‘love calls’ – and see the paintings inspired by this tawn owl pair.


February 25th 2019

Inside A Tawny Owl Nest: Kestrels Invade

Nest box wars

Today the cameras caught a kestrel pair in Beech Stump whilst the tawnys were out! This audacious pair even dug out the nest scrape that the tawnys had so carefully prepared. Watch them re-arranging the tawny home here:

Click to watch the video above

February 22nd 2019

Inside a Tawny Owl Nest: Digging a Nest Scrape

Preparing the nest

This is interesting. Watch how the male tawny owl is using the blades of his wings to dig a nest scrape. He dips his wing into the soil and draws a fine line into the debris. Tawnys will dig a scrape into the bottom of their chosen nesting site and lay their eggs in the hollow. They usually use their claws to scrape out these hollows, but here this male tawny is also tugging at bits with its beak. Watch to the end to see it also dig with its feet – notice how chunky his legs are – before settling into the hole to try it for size. It’s nice to see that the pair have moved back to Beech Stump. It seems that they are now settled and plan to use this nest box to breed in.


Click to watch the video above

February 14th 2019

Inside a Tawny Owl Nest: Checking out nest sites

Finding a place to nest

It’s Valentine’s Day and the tawny owls are already making plans to nest. They spend most days roosting in a nest box I made for them out of an old beech stump. But this week the cameras caught the female digging a scrape into the bottom a different nest box.

It feels so intimate to be able to hear the sound she makes as she scrapes out a perfect hollow in the floor of the box before nestling down into it.This box she is in is actually quite close to the beech box and made from an old ash stump. At this stage the pair are still undecided on where to nest and are trying out different boxes for size.

Interestingly the microphones also recorded her calling. The sound she made is a noise that is usually attributed only to males. A soft, reverberating hoot, known as an ocarina call,  it clearly is how they call one another during courtship. To learn more about how I build nest boxes for tawny owls click here to read my blog post.

Click to watch the video above

The best nest box to attract a tawny owl to your garden


February 7th 2019

Inside A Tawny Owl Nest: Bingo! A Female 

Attracting a mate

The male now has his mate and the two are already re-confirming their bond. Watch carefully to see them tenderly preen one another’s facial discs. Although this pair are known to one another they repeat the same courtship ritual each year to establish their bonds.

How to tell the difference between a male and female tawny owl

It is difficult to tell the difference between males and females and most people go by size (females are slightly bigger) but these two owls are an old couple and I know them from previous years. I sex them by their colouring and feather patterns. The ginger-toned owl is the female. If you look, her tail has no markings. The darker owl, with black feathers on its head is the male. Its has a white tipped tail with barring accross it.


Click to watch the video above


Tawny Owl Artwork

My Tawny Owl Paintings

Inspired by watching these tawny owls

My webcams are essentially studies for my paintings. Here are a few of the paintings inspired by watching and learning about his bird pair up close.

Watchful Tawny Owl | Fine Art Print | Shop Now


tawny owl art inspired by nest cameras
Tawny Owl On Lookout | Fine Art Print | Shop Now
tawny owl painting inspired by nest cams
Three Tawny Owl Chicks | Fine Art Print | Shop Now


Jan 2019

Update – Attracting A Mate

What’s new this month

The tawny owls are an old couple but they still go through the same courtship process each year. Read on to hear the sounds they make when calling for a mate. Only males are said to make these love calls but listen to these clips to hear the female also calling.



January 31st 2019

Inside A Tawny Owl Nest: Preening 

Attracting a mate

Turn the sound on to listen to this tawny owl preen its tail feathers. You can actually hear the sound of its beak dragging through the feathers, catching at the barbs! And if that isn’t incredible enough, watch to the end to see its satisfied expression afterwards. It’s as if its saying: “Ah. That felt good!”


Click to watch the video above

The cameras also captured this male preening again a few days later.  Watch as it again carefully pulls its beak through its feathers – listen to the sound this makes!  and then has a good shake. Its tail quivers so fast its like watching a turbo tawny. Keep watching to the end to see it finally fan out its tail!

Click to watch the video above

January 24th 2019

Inside A Tawny Owl Nest: Love Calls

Attracting a mate

It’s very early in the year, but already the male tawny owl has begun to call for a mate. This owl is a regular here at Fotherdale and he has had the same mate for many years now, but each year he still has to attract her in the same way. Turn your sound on to hear the sound of this love call. A low oscillating, ocarina, it has quite a soothing tone. Watch how its feathers quiver as the notes shudder to a final hush. There is a hard frost outside and the male has a found shelter inside my nest box – perhaps he’s hoping for some company to keep warm as he roosts?


Click to watch the video above


You may also like my Barn Owl Cam

Barn Owl Nest Camera | Selecting A Nest Site

Click on the link above to follow the daily lives of the barn owls that also live in my garden.


And my Kestrel Cam:

Stories from a kestrel nest camera

Read More

What happens next month on my Tawny Owl Nest Camera:

March Update – Courtship, Nest Scrapes and Hopefully an Egg? :

Follow my other nest cameras:

Barn Owl Nest Camera 2019:

Kestrel Nest Camera 2019:

Read more about my adventures with tawny owls here:

How to choose the best nest box for a tawny owl:

My Tawny Owl Nest Camera in 2018:

How to get a Tawny Owl to Nest in your Garden:

What to do if you find a tawny owlet on the ground:


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