The call of the Tawny Owl is the tu-whit tu-whoo immortalised by William Shakespeare in his early comedy Love’s Labour’s Lost. There is much debate about the exact sound, but it is commonly accepted that the female makes the to- whit sound and the male answers with to-whoo. Whatever the answer, we are thrilled to report that two eggs have been successfully laid and hatched in our grounds here at Middleton Hall.
Nest Watch is an initiative inspired by Head of Operations David Richardson, whereby a camera is installed in our owl nesting box. The live feed can then be viewed on a screen at Reception so that literally all the comings and goings can be seen 24/7.
The mum and her eggs were first noted on 14th February and it is thought she laid the eggs up to 3 days earlier. We watched with bated breath as mum turned and nurtured the eggs, as she was fed regularly on voles, mice and frogs by the reliable male owl.
As anticipated, the eggs hatched on around 16th March. Four weeks on, we have taken great pleasure in following the owlets’ progress. Indeed, they have grown so much that the poor mum is increasingly spending time out of the nesting box and keeps an eye on her young from a nearby perch.
Thank you to the very patient residents and family of residents who took these lovely photographs.
In 2015, a similar tale unfolded but sadly without a positive outcome. Please click here for an account recorded by Middleton Hall residents Pat Webb and Sonia Wade.