Name: Bird of the Year – Eurasian Tawny Owl
Date of Issue: 08 October 2009
The Estonian Ornithological Society has chosen the tawny owl (Strix aluco) as the bird of the year 2009. The tawny owl, a bird in the order Strigiformes, is an age-old resident of Estonia, although it was relatively rare until the middle of the 19th century. The tawny owl prefers habitats close to humans – cemeteries, parks, broadleaved groves around farms or manor seats etc. The tawny is a nocturnal bird of prey who nests in large hollows and cracks in trees, but sometimes also in suitable holes in buildings. It willingly settles in nest boxes with a large entrance holes. There are from 1,000 to 2,00 nesting pairs of the tawny owl in Estonia at present. The tawny is about the size of a crow; it has large dark eyes and a brownish or grey plumage. The tawny starts nesting early in the year. Some couples lay their eggs already in February, although generally this activity occurs at the beginning or middle of March. The clutch, usually of three to four eggs, is incubated by the female alone in four weeks and it takes about as long for the young to fledge. The tawny’s wide diet includes almost any prey it can catch, mainly small rodents – particularly in rural areas – but birds, frogs, bats and earthworms will do as well. The tawny owl is a species in the third category of protected birds.
Saturday, November 14, 2009