15 July 2016

Diary of a Spotted Wood owl family

I've recently been obsessed with a family of Spotted Wood owls in my neighbourhood. I first spotted the two adults. A few days later, the juvenile emerged, after an encounter with tree trimmers that probably stressed me more than the birds.
Adult (left) is more brown and sleek,
Juvenile (right) is whiter and fluffy and oh so cute.
Since then, every day, I look at them, listen for their calls, check the ground for owl barf and feathers. The neighbours are also excited about them. Whenever we meet, we share owl observations and help keep a look out for the owls. I did daily updates on facebook about my observations and encounters. These are compiled here and will be updated we go along.

More about Spotted Wood owls

According to NParks' Flora and Fauna website: Spotted Wood owls (Strix seloputo) are Singapore's largest owl and is listed as Critically Endangered in Singapore. Also "This species was first seen in Singapore in December 1985 in the Central Catchment forest followed by a breeding record in August 1986. Since then the Spotted Wood Owl has been found in seven other sites. Population may be around 22 or more."

According to the Owl Pages:  The adult is about 44-48cm tall, with wings about 30cm long. Females are larger than males.
Spotted Wood Owl (Strix seloputo)
The adult owls flew during day
when their tree was being trimmed.

They feed mainly on rats and mice, small birds and large insects.
Spotted Wood Owl (Strix seloputo) pellet
Like other owls, they regurgitate inedible parts
of the prey that they eat. I call it owl barf

Breeding season is from January to August. Breeds in tree holes or in open branches, sometimes on the top of a Bird's nest fern, often high up in a tall tree. Usually 2, but sometimes 3 eggs are laid. They are oval, pure white and average about 4-5cm long. Eggs are laid on the wood or leaf debris. They don't build a nest.
Spotted Wood Owl (Strix seloputo)
The tree trimmers used a cherry picker and the guy in it
told me there was a chick in the Birds nest fern (blue arrow).
White circle is the adult owl which stayed put
for the longest time, despite the chainsaws.

MORE photos of the owls on wildsingapore flickr.

Here's the series of daily updates I posted on facebook.

2 Jul: Spotted wood owls in the morning!

3 Jul: What do owls eat?

4 Jul: Owl update - Chainsaws! But good news

5 Jul: Owls well

6 Jul: Owls good with THREE owls!

7 Jul: Owl right! More stories of the owl family

8 Jul: Owls OK!

9 Jul: Where's baby owl?!

10 Jul: Owl Day with owls

11 Jul: Owl kinds of ways of sleeping

12 Jul: Owls as usual

13 Jul: Barf Bonanza

13 Jul: Owl wet

14 Jul: Owls in the rain

15 Jul: What sounds do owls make?
and more wet owls

16 Jul: What do owls eat?

17 Jul: Owls briefly

18 Jul: Owls have long legs and twisty necks

19-20 Jul: Owls in a night storm

21 Jul: Owls good

22 Jul: Owl kinds of feathers

23 Jul: Owl flights

24-26 Jul: Owl GONE. Bye bye baby

A look back at 3 weeks of baby Spotted Wood owl

Flashback: Head bobbing by the baby owl

Flashback: More baby owl

27 Jul: Owl gone to a wilder neighbour hoot

Flashback: Baby owl's whinny wheeze

29 Jul: Updates on owls in the wild

30 Jul: Updates on owls in the wild

31 Jul: Updates on owls in the wild

5 Aug: Owls featured in Nature Society's Bird Group report

17 Aug: Update on owl family 3 weeks after they left the nesting tree

Flashback: Adults mating!

29 Aug: Update on owl family 5 weeks after they left the nesting tree area

2 Sep: Owl feathers

9 Sep: Update on owl family 6 weeks after they left the nesting tree area

Flashback: Baby owl eating a bird

17 Sep: Owls in the moonlight

28 Sep: Look back on the baby owl

28 Sep: Owls during the day!

10 Oct: Owl encounters - baby all grown up?

17 Oct: Return of the owls!

19 Oct: Owls after the storm

21 Oct: Only two owls?

4 Nov: Just two owls now

9 Nov: Owls in love!

17 Nov: Owls in the nesting tree

4 Dec: Owls as usual

14 Dec: Owlsome

25 Dec: Merry Owls

2 Jan: Happy 2017 with owls

7 Jan: Owls good!

25 Jan: Owl sunny today

25 Feb: Owls are back!

The owls were featured in the Straits Times!

4 Apr: Owls and pigeons!

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