She has kept us waiting and I confess I was starting to think she might not return this year, but this weekend we turned on the nestcams and there she was... the tawny owl.
Last year the tawny owls were very successful, raising 3 owlets and giving us wonderful views on the TV in our Visitor Centre.
Our most common UK owl, the tawny owl is about the size of a wood pigeon, with a tubby body, large round head and rounded wings. Being nocturnal they are rarely seen but more often heard, particularly in late winter when the males proclaim territory and attract a mate. It is the tawny that gives us the classic 'twit-twoo' call. However, this is not one bird but two birds communicating. Both sexes make the 'twit' or more accurately 'kee-wick' call but the 'twoo' or rather 'hooo-hoo-hooo' is the male answering during courtship.
Typically tawny owls nest in late February or March, using natural or man-made holes in trees plus of course nestboxes. The female lays 2 or 3 eggs, which she will incubate for 28-30 days.
You can see the female live in on the TV in our Visitor Centre as we watch this story as it unfold.
Meanwhile, not to be outdone the blue tits have decided it's time to get on with building their nest.
They have been very busy, coming and going with nesting material. Generally they will use moss, twigs and grass - true to form we are seeing just that being brought in. We have put out some alpaca wool in an old fat ball feeder - they used the wool to line their nest last year. Every so often they will flap their wings pushing the material to the sides in an attempt to start making the characteristic cup shape - you can see this in a short video on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pg/RSPBPaghamHarbour/posts/?ref=page_internal
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