Tawny Owl Facts
Although primarily a woodland bird, the Tawny Owl is fairly gregarious and will establish its territory in large gardens and urban parks. It is Britain’s most widespread owl and the largest of our common owls. Its distinctive, if deceptive, calls can be heard nightly particularly in Autumn. The classic To Whit To Woo being a combination of the female’s call and the male’s response.
Exquisite markings of brown and chestnut provide excellent camouflage and this along with its largely nocturnal habit mean it is far more likely to be heard than seen. It also means the bird is difficult to monitor and precise information about its populations are difficult to come by.
Like other owls, Tawny Owls can famously turn their head through 270 degrees and are able to look behind them. Although owls have binocular vision, their forward-facing eyes cannot move in their sockets, so they must turn their heads instead. They also have excellent hearing to help in the nightly hunt for small mammals, rodents, birds, frogs, fish, worms, insects and beetles.
The tawny owl first breeds at one year old and lays two to five eggs which it raises between April and June. It nests in tree holes or sometimes uses the old nests of other birds. Importantly, Young owls can climb back into the nest should they fall out and almost certainly do not need rescuing if found on the ground!
Average lifespan: 4 years
Protected by The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981