Friday, March 25, 2011

Tawny Owl

True Wild Life | Tawny Owl | The tawny owl is a small to medium sized bird of prey that is found across Europe and in parts of Asia but tawny owls are mainly found in woodlands across Eurasia. The tawny owl is the most widespread owl in Europe and is the most of common bird of prey found in the UK. Tawny owls tend to be around 40cm tall with a wingspan of about 100cm, with the tawny owl therefore being a much stockier bird than many other species of owl in the world.

The tawny owl is a nocturnal bird of prey, that takes advantage of their fantastic night vision to quickly catch their prey. Tawny owls prey on small rodents such as voles and mice, and also insects and small reptiles. In the same way as other species of owl, the tawny owl swallows it's prey whole and then regurgitates the bones that it cannot digest within a few hours of eating, in the form of a small pellet. Typically, tawny owls can be found nesting in tree holes during the daylight hours when they are resting. During the breeding season in the early spring, the male tawny owls can be seen hunting during the day as well as at night as they are collecting food to present to their mate.

Tawny owls are known to mate for life although this is not always the case. The female tawny owl lays an average of 3 eggs in the late spring to early summer and incubates her eggs while the male tawny owl brings her food. The tawny owl chicks hatch out of their eggs after an incubation period of around a month. The tawny owl chicks are reared by their parents until they are usually around 2 months old, although it is not uncommon for the tawny owl chicks to be looked after until they are nearly 3 months of age.

Due to the fact that tawny owls are relatively small birds (particularly in comparison to other birds of prey), the tawny owl has a number of natural predators within it's environment. Predators of the tawny owl include dogs, cats and foxes along with birds of prey such as hawks, eagles, buzzards and even larger species of owl. Rats and squirrels are the main predators of the tawny owl's eggs. Tawny owls inhabit dense forest and woodland where they cannot be disturbed resting during the day. During the night, tawny owls can often be heard making noises such as hooting and screeching which they do to communicate with other tawny owls, to mark their territory and to find a mate.

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