The tawny owl, a gardener’s allied wings

A small bird of prey, the tawny owl is very common throughout Europe. Its song sometimes worries, however this bird is completely harmless, it even constitutes an auxiliary of the gardener in the fight against the rodents, other small mammals, the reptiles and even certain insects.

The tawny owl on the hunt
The tawny owl on the hunt

A very friendly raptor

Strix alucobetter known as ‘Tawny owl‘ or of ‘Chat-huant‘ is a medium-sized raptor belonging to the family Strigidae.

Basically nocturnebut can also be observed sometimes during the day on its resting place, this owl with greyish or rufous plumagecan reach a size 39 cm tall for a wingspan up to 1 m. Son weight varies from 420 to 600 g.

The prominent round head features large, round, brown to black eyes, further highlighted by the facial mask that is lighter than the plumage and feathers. concentric discs around the eyes. The pointed, down-curved bill is straw-yellow.

Sedentary and living as a couple, she keeps always the same shelter and defends its territory tooth and nail! Its eerie song can be heard day and night; very talkative, she never goes unnoticed when she is present in an area!

Chasing the night, she devours a good number of rodentsbut also other small mammals, birds, des reptiles and sometimes even large insects as well as slugs et frogs which will be swallowed whole.

Tawny Owl Habitat

This owl lives in the open wooded areasit appreciates deciduous forests and undergrowth, groves, parks, wooded countryside and sometimes even large gardens.

She only appreciates the mountains very moderately and keeps scrupulously below the bar of 1500 m altitude.

Present throughout Europeexcept in Ireland, its range extends from the Maghreb to the Near East as well as in Minor and Central Asia, as far as Siberia.

Cavern-dwelling, it prefers the hollows of old trees, but can also choose a rocky cavity to establish its nest there. More rarely, it settles in a barn, an attic or a disused building.

Reproduction of the tawny owl

The breeding period takes place from February to mid June depending on the region and the climate. The female lays 3 to 5 eggs directly in the chosen cavity (without arranging the nest) which she will hatch for about a month. The male will then take care of refueling her, he will continue his solitary work a fortnight after the hatching of the chicks, then the female will come to join him.

After 6 weeks, the juvenile owls leave the nest without becoming independent before the age of 3 months.

A tawny owl lives on average 18 years, 21 being the maximum age studied in freedom.

Source: Au Jardin, conseils en jardinage by

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