Tawny Owl

Tawny Owl

Strix aluco

Tawny Owls are a reasonably large owl, brown in colour with black eyes and lacking the ear tufts seen on some of our other owl species. During the daylight hours, they tend to remain in cover up against a tree trunk and only occasionally pestered by scolding songbirds. During the winter nights, the classic hooting calls can be heard along with a 'keewik' call. Some observers get confused when they hear the range of calls made by a Tawny Owl and wrongly assume that there is more than one species of owl present.

Tawny Owls are very early nesters and are busy establishing breeding territories from November onwards. They typically use a cavity in a tree, often quite exposed, but will also take to a specially designed Tawny Owl box. The fluffy young can sometimes be found on the ground below the nest site and worried householders will often remove these taking them to the vet. Unless the chicks are actually under threat of death or injury from a predator, it is best to leave them be. They have a surprising amount of agility and will readily climb back up the trunk of the tree to reach the nest hole.

Tawny Owls take a wide range of prey from earthworms (taken on wet nights from your lawn) through to small mice and rats, Starlings and even Grey Squirrels. So, although you cannot attract them by providing food in the normal sense, you can try and attract them by providing a suitable nest box.

Find out more about Tawny Owls on BirdFacts and the Wider Countryside Report.

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