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6 June 2012

Long-eared Owl chick

The Long-eared Owl nest which has been mentioned in previous posts (eg, this one HERE), was visited on Monday last to try to ring the chicks. John Lusby was able to scale the tree and catch one of the two chicks. The eldest, at about three weeks old, was already able to scramble nimbly about the branches and avoid being captured. This phase of the development of young Long-eared Owls is known as 'branching'. 

Long-eared Owl chick, at a site near Newmarket, 4th June 2012 (M.O'Clery). Click on the image to see a closer view.

Long-eared chicks can scramble about and even fly short distances by 25 days old while Barn Owl chicks would be 65 days old before attempting their first flight. This is probably a mechanism to avoid predation of the chicks in the more exposed nest sites of Long-eared Owls.