Sunday, 21 August 2011

Nightly visitors

I had been told there was a pair of hawk owls breeding somewhere near the KAIRA site, then Derek and Juha saw them one night when they were on site late, so I went along the next night to try to see them and managed to get a few photos.

On a couple of nights we had spotted several young northern hawk owls flying around the site. There was even a photograph of one of them earlier. The young birds were just learning to fly and did all kinds of silly crash landings and such while they where checking us out.

Stuart managed to get some very nice pictures on one of the nights. In Finnish these birds are called "hiiripöllö", which means mouse owl.

On his last day, Stuart even built a nesting box for the owls. Their presence will hopefully keep the small rodents from chewing on our cables.


Hawk owl sitting on top of the 3D cameras.


After warching two adults and one young flying around from perch to
perch for a while I decided to try to attract the bird on the cameras
a bit closer by making mouse noises, it worked and it came closer
to investigate.
Making the mouse noises worked well for the owls but backfired on
me the next day. At lunchbreak I went into the forest to look for the
nest site and was away a bit longer than I should have been when I
heard a strange owl in the distance, so I headed straight for it. When I
emerged from the trees I was back at the KAIRA site where I found
Derek making owl calls, the theory being mouse calls attracted
the owls for Stuart so maybe owl calls will attract Stuart back to
work. It worked like a charm and I was back at work before I knew
I had been fooled. Well done Derek
Photos: Stuart Keenan

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