We went to watch the barn owls last week as we do nearly every night and overnight the behaviour had changed. I recognised it instantly, others thought we might be seeing the same two birds. She didn’t come out to greet him and then she came out late and started to hunt, and we didn’t see him at all, although you can never be sure with barn owls. A week later we are all pretty sure that the male barn owl is no more. It happened the night after those wonderful images of where he does a fly around to show off his catch to her, he is so obviously in love, so I am rather upset about it really., tears spring to my eyes when I think about it, I’d rather fallen a little in love with him myself at that point, having seen his deeply abiding love for her.
Research suggests that barn owls are life long partners, so its unlikely that he has gone off with some floozy, much more likely that he has been hit by a car or some other kind of accident as he would have been concentrating on the job in hand.
We know they have ringed these owlets and there are four, so it is very much fingers crossed to see if she has the stamina and luck to finish raising them.
I do hope so.
But she is working hard, she hunts presumably for herself before dusk to feed herself and then starts bringing the food in for the owlets when dusk falls, presumably when they wake up. We noticed last night that she is quartering nearer to the box, where I hope she finds enough voles and mice as it will help with her stamina as the chicks continue to grow and demand more and more food.
A few photos from last night.