The Estonian Ornithological Society chose the Tawny Owl as the bird of the year for 2009.
Since then we have had the chance to observe the breeding of the handsome Tawny Owl pair – Klaus and Klaara - nesting in Matsalu National Park. We are not quite convinced that we still have the same Klaus and Klaara since it is not possible to tell birds from different years apart - but who knows - they may be!
In previous years the webcam Tawny Owls have started breeding or laid the first egg on March 1st at the earliest (2009) and at the latest on April 6th (2010). In 2017 the first egg was in the nest on March 30th.
This year, Klaara and Klaus started visiting the nest more frequently after March 23rd. The male Klaus spent the first brief time in the nest on March 16th. Due to the late spring the first egg was laid on March 30th this year (2018). The female Klaara laid the 2nd egg during the night towards April 2nd. Follow them on direct stream: https://bit.ly/2Hoc1dR
Tawny Owl inhabits Estonian cultural landscapes including parks, cemeteries, and forest patches between fields. The species is widespread in the western part of the country and on the islands and have occupied 10% of the nest boxes which have been placed out for them. There are two plumage colour morphs - grey and rufous brown.
Currently, the number of breeding pairs of the Tawny Owl has been estimated at 1000-2000. The average population density is 3.5 pairs per 100 km2. Numbers increase in winter with approximately 3000-6000 birds wintering in Estonia.
Tawny Owls hunt almost entirely at night, watching from a perch before dropping or gliding silently down to its victim, but very occasionally it will hunt in daylight when it has young to feed. This species takes a wide range of prey, mainly woodland rodents, but also other mammals up to the size of a young rabbit, and birds, bats, beetles and even worms.
The average life span is around five years, but oldest known Tawny Owl in the wild made it to a remarkable eighteen years!