Saturday, October 30, 2010


Allan and I so look forward to the arrival of Pot Plant Owl each year to lay her eggs. Nothing is more exciting than that first day she is back, when we open the curtains to find a beautiful owl sitting once again in our pot plant -a sure sign she is ready to lay her eggs.

We realise it is a privilege to have these exquisite owls in such proximity -a privilege we don't take lightly. With this privilege comes responsibilities - to educate and inform people about their choices that impact negatively on wildlife in general eg rodent control; to create awareness about the plight of owls in suburban areas where humans destroy their habitats; and a certain level of responsibility to the owls themselves.

Weeks prior to the new breeding season, we ready the balcony for the owls. We put shadecloth up around the railing. This prevents the chicks from falling two storeys down, and it offers some sun protection and protection from hail. We put up wooden perches around the side of the pot plant - this gives the parents perches to use when bringing in food for the chicks. We clear away our outdoor chairs and umbrellas from the area, so that none of the items can fall and injure any owl in a bad storm.

As soon as Pot Plant Owl arrives, we set up a 'hide' in our bedroom. The glass sliding door between our bedroom and the balcony is covered with cardboard. Curtains are permanently closed. We even pin darker material on our light curtains to ensure the owls don't constantly see our silhouettes in the room.

If a small chick falls out the nest onto the balcony floor, we push out our parrots' jungle gym which has smaller perches, that are lower to the ground, in order to assist the chick in getting back up to the nest on its own.

This is the limit of our responsibility / 'interference' with the owls. Short of stepping in when a chick falls off the balcony and hides under a wheel of a car (in imminent danger in a human environment), or one of the owls is obviously seriously injured or sick (like Teeny), this is all we will do to assist the owls.

Even though you are viewing these owls in a suburban environment, they are WILD owls. We do not feed them. We do not pet them. We do not cuddle them or tame them. It is both illegal and irresponsible to interfere further.

Our aim in making a webcam available in the breeding period, is to educate viewers on these Spotted Eagle Owls: to show what the owls experience when they are in their natural habitat - storms, first flight, falling out nests, preening and so forth.

It is extremely hard for me to do nothing to help the chicks in a bad hail storm, or when a small chick like Teeny falls out the nest and can't get back in.

But this is Nature, and it is all part of their learning experiences. We've done what we can to make the balcony safe. Now we have to let Nature take its course.

Teeny will find its way back up to the nest - sooner or later. Until then, Teeny is making use of the owl box on the balcony floor, that has been standing empty for 3 years. It offers shade and protection from the elements.

We hope that by watching the webcam / reading the blog, you have a greater appreciation / awareness for these magnificent birds of prey.


  1. Thank you for the background. I appreciate everything you are doing. It is amazing what you have gone through with this precious and beautiful creatures and I applaud you. Yes, the are in the wild, albeit on your balcony. Yes, they have to obtain their experience, but you have made it much safer. Thank you for stepping in when Teeny was in real trouble, but that is what would be done with any wild creature found to be in serious trouble that we would happen upon, so you haven't stepped out of line in that respect (in keeping with the wild that is sometimes found and saved). Thank you again, I enjoy watching. Many Blessings, Janet

  2. Thanks, you are *great*!!!


  3. PPO.
    You are doing a marvellous and excellent job with these beautiful birds. As I have said before "I congratulate you" for being kind and considerate towards them!

    Yesterday, I too was a nervous wreck watching one of the eldest chick on the other side of the balcony and at one time I thought it might have followed its mother, when she left. Phew!! :-)

  4. Thanks for providing this opportunity to watch these beautiful owls. I am so jealous that you are able to observe these owls so up close and personal. I love reading your blog every day to find out what has been going on..since there is a 6 hr time difference for me I miss a lot of the action

  5. Oh heck!!
    I hope one of the eldest chicks does not fly off from the pillar! I can see the baby on the floor testing its wings too and mam or dad is calling.

  6. Where are you, Fannyd?
    We miss the nightime action here in UK. :-(

  7. Just want to say Thank you So much for allowing us to share this amazing experience with you! We really appreciate everything that you are doing I've been watching Molly the Barn Owl since March and found your owls through that - the difference in the two are amazing - huge learning curve to watch wild owls doing what comes naturally - even if it is in a slightly surprising location! I'm hoping to watch the whole process next year - if you are willing to share it with us! Thank you again!

  8. Good gosh!
    This is so fascinating. Mother brought in something to eat for baby, Dad is calling, then Mother was talking to the baby before she left!

  9. Baby is on the floor, middle is in the pot and I think eldest is on the pillar to the right of cam.

  10. And Tracy was there with the torch!! lol :-)

  11. We all sometimes forget that nature takes its own course. We are fortunate in our large city to have several mating pairs of Peregrine Falcons who make their nests on windowsills on the very top floors of some of our skyscrapers. The National Aviary has had streaming cams on some of their nests for several years. They two are monogamus and return to "their" windowsills each year. So, you can imagine the feelings we had this past spring when a younger female attacked and killed, live on camera, the matriarch falcon over a dispute of who would get the prime nesting spot. It was awful to watch but it is the way of nature. I give all the credit in the world for sharing your space with these beautiful and endangered birds and if people sometimes seem overly protective and concerned-take heart! What a sad world it would be if no one cared about the owls. Blessings to you!!

  12. Thanks for your special post. I think you have the balance just right; you limit the dangers by making the balcony as safe as possible and are prepared to step in if there is a serious problem but otherwise let the owls live their lives as wild creatures. I, like many others, applaud your efforts and am particularly grateful, Tracy and Allan, that you are willing to share your balcony not only with the owls but with all of us who so enjoy watching their progress. Thank you for allowing us into this very special world. JanetX