Saturday, November 20, 2010

Day of Fledging Sat 20 November

The day has come. We wake this morning to find the balcony empty. We scour our walls and the neighbours' walls for any sign of little chicks, but we can't find them.

As with the previous two years, it is a bitter-sweet moment for us. Neither one of us is happy, but we are relieved that the chicks are strong enough to go out with their parents into the 'wild'. Indie, Jelani and now Teeny, have proven that they can fly well enough to keep out of trouble. Soon, Pot Plant Owl and Pappa will have taught them how to hunt properly,and they will be set.

Thank you to everyone that has watched our owl family on the webcam. The emails and blog comments, and comments posted on the chat, have all been incredibly moving. We may not get around to thanking each and everyone one of you, but please know that all your comments are read and gratefully received.

A big thank you to Africam for allowing us to show you what we witness in our own home. Africam is a wonderful company that affords thousands of people the opportunity of watching natural at its best, that otherwise may never be able to see it. We appreciate the loan of the webcam which brought you the visuals and sound, which was amazing. Thank you!

13h00: A bit of light relief on this day of sadness for us, and other owl lovers. Allan is out on the balcony as I type this entry, cursing under his breath. Hosepipe in one hand, a plastic bucket in the other - Allan is on the first (of many) cleaning duties we will have to perform. It smells like a dumpster out there and I'm sure Allan is holding his breath in between mutterings. So far, he's found umpteen bones, feathers, pellets, and remains of prey. He's pulled out a 30cm piece from a half-eaten snake, and rat tails too. "Lovely presents you left, Indie, Jeli and Teeny. Really well thought out."

Round one of cleaning is over, and I think Allan has de-snaked the balcony by now. I bet the next shift is mine - yuck! "I'm going to have to bath in Dettol", Allan has just said, coming back into the house. I'm still hearing him mutter, mutter as the bathroom door closes.
Teehee - and I get to sit here and chat. Life is sweet!

We will leave the webcam on tonight and tomorrow morning, just in case the chicks return for a quick visit.

The webcam will be switched off tomorrow, Sunday 21 November, at approx. 19h00 Central African Time. Allan and I will briefly come onto the balcony to say hi (from approx 18h40), and to answer any final questions you may have.

If you do have questions, please email them to me on: or you can post them in the comments section of today's post on the blog.

We'll be on the look-out this evening for our dear owl family. The chat will be updated with any sightings, so for those interested, keep monitoring the chat.


  1. Parting is such sweet sorrow... I will miss seeing Pot Plant Owl, Pappa, Jelani, Indie and Teeny but I am thrilled they are going on the way they were meant to go. You two have taken a permanent place in my heart. The love and care you have given these creatures is remarkable and has been a joy to experience. Thank you from the bottom of many, many hearts!

  2. Well even though I knew fledge time was upon us, it is still painful to read those words. I feel as if I had only just found you both and this wonderful owl family. Also a huge thank you to the mods and chatters. They have been funny, creative, kind, helpful, and very knowledgeable when i have presented them with difficulities in my life.This has been an incredible gift. My life, my birds' and mom's lives have all been enhanced. Love to you all. elsa ( one more thing: tracy is a great writer.)

  3. Allan and Tracy,
    Thank you for allowing us to share your home, your life, "your owls". You two truly personify my favorite bible passage.

    Love is patient, love is kind,
    Love does not insist on its own way.
    Love bears all things, believes all things,
    Hopes all things, endures all things.
    Love never fails. 1Corinthians 13

    Thanks for loving "our babies and knowing what was best for them". I hope we get to see the next clutch next year.

  4. I never thought this old lady would have tears in her eyes and a lump in her throat over 3 little owlets in South Africa. Again, THANK YOU so much for all you have done to show the world how these little babies learn from mama and papa in the wild and for sharing all your time and a special thanks for all the wonderful updates and your hubby's clean-up efforts after they are gone. : )

  5. It's sad for us, the people that we must say goodbye to the owls. Me and my friends in Poland, we fell in love with Pot Plant Owl family and with you, Tracy, and Allan. We admire you, for your concern and dedication. Few people would be able to stop using part of their own home, for several months, for the wild birds. It is thanks to you ,Teeny survived and she can now start her/his independent life. And I hope that, also thanks to you, the bulldozers will not appear on wetlands in this area and the owls will return here next year. Many thanks to for the webcam. And, Tracy and Allan, thanks for your huge hearts and for this blog. We will miss you and wait ...

  6. Like everyone else, I send my heartfelt thanks to you, Tracy and Allan!
    This has been a very enjoyable experience for me to witness such beautiful owls. I have loved them all from the start, but Teeny has a special place in my heart and I love her to bits!!!
    I am feeling so emotional now thinking tomorrow will be the last day for us all to watch this incredible little family!!!
    Thank you from the bottom of my heart! :-)

  7. Ok, I have all of your lovely posts and can not top them! They were beautiful. Tracy and Allan you did a terrific job, and the information that you shared with us was very well written and informative!! Thank you. There is always is a time for me afterwards that I think about the Owls and all they have been through, and all they will go through that kind of scares me for all of them but the babies have good teachers. Those parents and your deck helped those babies get strong and ready for this life!!
    I wish I didn't get so emotional but I do...I cry, I grieve and then I think about how lucky I was to see this all happen. Then I wait for next year. Crazy I guess but I do this to myself all the time. (my husband thinks I am crazy)
    Its nice to know there are people like you in this world, and I wish there were more. I will try to figure out the time that you come on camera, so I dont miss you two!! Till next time. Lori

  8. I was so glad to find your site PPO! I immediately saw the love that you and Allan have for the owls and appreciate all you do to promote their health and survival. Even tho this adventure is ending for us, it is only just beginning for Indie, Jelani, and Teeny. Bless you for all your caring and sharing. Sincerely, couleedam/Nora

  9. Iwanna.
    I am exactly the same as you, I get really emotional and have tears too. :-(

    I am the same when the Ospreys leave our British shores every year for their migration to N Africa and I just can't wait for them to return back to these shores in March/April.
    My husband makes fun of me and says I am being silly and that they are only birds.
    I am just a caring and emotional person. :-)

  10. I have nothing to add, everything has been said, and I couldn't have done it better anyway. A huge THANK YOU. I'll think back a lot of times in the future, and I will definitely think about you two and PPO and her family when vacationing in SA for the first time ever in May. This amazing story you had to tell us followers, is one of the reasons we want to see your beautiful country, with all those beautiful animals, as soon as possible. ;)
    all the way from the Netherlands, and again *thank you*!

  11. THANK YOU!!!!! You came at a time when a lot of people needed a place to go once Mollys owls have fledged! Thank you for opening up your balcony to us and letting us watch nature at its best!!! Ill never forget these beautiful owls!!!! Caboval

  12. My Ode to Teeny
    (written 3 days before Teeny flew from the balcony for the final time).

    Teeny is a little owl
    Currently She/He is on the prowl.
    3 years ago her/his mum chose a plant pot to nest
    It seems PPO knew what would be best.

    Soon after birth Teeny fell sick
    Little did she/he know that up someone’s sleeve was a little trick.
    Tracy and Allan are a caring couple
    and got out on their balcony on the double.

    Tracy took Teeny off to the vet and Allan erected a net.
    They certainly are the best people anyone (including the owls) could have met.

    Now Teeny is about to fledge
    Meanwhile her/his friends are making their pledge.


    Sign the petition on


    Fi260268 15.11.2010

  13. Dear Tracy and ALlan,
    I cannot match thecomments above. I can only say (thanks to someone named "Fleur" in the Netherlands) how much I have enjoyed your site, but even more, how greatly I have appreciated your lovely manner in welcoming us all and giving us so much of your time. I'm sure you will be glad to have your lives back (as well as your balcony) but it's been a joy to be part of this nesting and fledging moment, and your warm and gracious hospitality made it all possible.

    I look forward to tomorrow at noon (my time) for the goodbyes. No, not looking forward to the goodbyes themselves, though I have a sense that we may be back again next September or so. But at least to see your faces and to know in whose company we have been - who the folks are who have made it all possible - as we watched these marvellous creatures for the last few weeks.

    Thank you so much. And really, Tracy, give that Teeny book some thought. Children would love it.
    with gratitude from
    Helen in Guelph, Ontario, Canada

  14. Tracy and Allan
    Thank you so much for your generosity and humor! The image of the two of you cleaning the balcony off did make me chuckle! If you lived closer, I would have offered to help .... or maybe not!
    Write a Teeny book! Kids would love it! I would love it!
    I look forward to seeing you tomorrow, but i don't look forward to good-bye... so let's just say: "Until next time!"

  15. like so many thankful people of the world I want to tell you how very privileged I feel to have been able to watch your owls ( and they are yours) grow and fledge. thanks to you, Allan and Tracy) i have learned more about owls and have a new appreciation of the species.
    Your writing was tender and informative and the caring that you both show ought to be contagious as it would make the world a better place.
    i pray that the wetlands can be restored and that next year pot Plant Owl and her mate will be able to return to raise another family.
    Again, i cannot thank you enough. there are no words
    Wishing you both a happy and healthy 2011, and enjoy your balcony for the rest of the summer
    From somewhere a little north of Toronto in Canada

  16. Gheez, I am glued to all of your comments, and want to hug you all!! Tracy and Allan included of course. You all seem like such sweet and caring people yourselves, and I am so glad that people from all over the world had as much fun, and joy as I did taking part in the adventures of the PPO family on Tracy and Allans balcony. I have enjoyed reading your comments, and look forward like you to meeting Tracy and Allan. It would be nice to have a big send off party for these beautiful creatures. Most of your comments got me all choked I sit here by myself (well with my little rescue chicken) and a big box of tissue!! Your thoughts, poems and comments were very touching. I shall miss you all!! Bye for now. Lori from Atlanta GA

  17. The day has come.
    Three owls flew out healthy.
    I want you, Allan and Tracy, thank for the second time that I could enjoy.
    I would also like to thank you for making all this possible.
    For your patient explanations, and good care for the owls.
    Many people have enjoyed.( you're welcome Helen ☺ )
    I will miss you all.
    For those who like to see some movies......


    Teeny was a tiny owl, the youngest one of three.
    He had a rough beginning, as you will shortly see.
    When he was just a hatchling, mites attacked him in the nest.
    He fell out of his pot plant home, and Mamma was distressed.

    But Teeny was a lucky owl, for people saw his plight,
    And human hands now rescued him - poor thing - he looked a fright!
    So Teeny, tiny though he was, was taken to a vet.
    From there he went for Rehab where all his needs were met.

    Soon a small but feisty owlet came back to claim his spot
    And nested with his siblings ’neath a tree within a pot.
    The other owlets got new names: no longer “one” and “two”
    But Teeny just stayed “Teeny”; no other name would do.

    Then Teeny ran away from home! He leaped out of the pot
    And went to live all by himself in a special owl box.
    He loved his solitude, it seems, but still hissed a lot for dinner,
    His Momma was attentive - didn’t want him any thinner.

    Then one day Teeny figured out a way back to his pot plant home,
    And moved back in with siblings and watched them learn to roam.
    There came another moment in the tiny Teeny show
    When he flew up to the pillar and landed down below!

    Now what to do? Poor owlet was down there all alone
    And quite perplexed about it all; now, how would he get home?
    By magic there appeared, below, his own small owl box,
    So Teeny hopped inside to rest and sat there with his thoughts;

    Until he realised there was a bigger home close by
    He knocked upon the patio door - well - it didn’t hurt to try!
    That wasn’t the solution; it wouldn’t do at all.
    But all those crickets made him strong, and he made it to the wall.

    Eventually he tried again to fly up to the heights.
    His siblings gave him courage, and longer grew his flights.
    Young Teeny was a clever Owl and had more adventures still,
    But always landed somewhere close, like the neighbour’s window sill.

    Oh! little owlet, so beloved, we watched you learn and grow,
    And now you’ve fledged and we are sad. We hate to see you go.
    But we’re happy, too, young Teeny,for you’ve made it through the worst,
    Take flight, wee bird, and find your way. Explore our Planet Earth.

    Canadian Birder, 20/11/2010

  19. I want to thank you for opening up your balcony for others to enjoy those wonderful owls. It has been a pleasure and I will miss them.

    Thank you

  20. Oh Helen, you're awesome.
    Thanks you so much

  21. Thank you so much for sharing this experience with people from all over the world. Was wonderful to watch and your narrative was always engaging. You are special people - you and the owls will be greatly missed!

    AJ in Nevada, USA

  22. Helen that is lovely :) I sure am going to miss watching this family...Thank you again Allan and Tracy, hope to catch you on cam tonight all being well with connection.

  23. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Allan and Tracy, for the opportunity to watch PPO, Pappa and the three little chicks. A good start has come to a good end. Thank you so much for the daily blogs and the lovely pictures. I will miss you all.THANK YOU!! A big hugh from the Netherlands. Hopefully see you nest year. Bye, Ellen

  24. Tracy and Allan ,
    it has been really great to meet you and your terrific owl family. *Thank you* again and again.
    It has been an adventure to follow PPO, Pappa and the three owlets. I got so affectioned to them and you! Yes, I really fell in love with you and your lucky balcony (not such a fun to clean up ;-)..)
    BTW I agree with elsalynda: "Tracy is a great writer" and a Teeny book would be absolutely welcome and definitely very useful for educational purposes.
    Today it's a bitter-sweet day. We have to say goodbye and good luck to Jeli, Indie and Teeny.
    I'm trying not to be sad, that's their life and we all love them free though we do know how many challenges life's making ready for them..
    But will miss them. Though a time will come back when PPO will be there for a new clutch.
    Hope the petition will work, we all are doing our best to collect signatures everywhere, never too many!!
    Bye, Tracy and Allan, you're special people caring and respecting nature so much. I'm so grateful I could meet you. Hope the plant in the pot is in good shape after being a nest and a nursery for "our" fantastic birdies! :D

  25. Tracy and Allen, your stream of the Pot Plant Owl and her family has been a delight for me. How wonderful that you have allowed people from around the world to come visit your little balcony and find life, drama, humor, and friendship. Thank you for making this world a little bit better place to be.

    Thank you for your concern for these owls and their habitat, also. I hope that your and our actions will help protect them and the wetlands where they hunt.

    Looking forward to seeing you again next nesting season.


  26. Tracy/Allan, like all of us thank you for sharing your lives and your eagle owls with us. Allof our lives have been so enriched by being able to share your daily lives and lives of PPO, Pappa, Jelani, Indie and Teeny. Lets not forget the smiles that Buster the shoe gave us and the owl box that seemed to travel to whereever Teeny was. May God Bless you both and also the lives of PPO and Pappas kids. Allan please take a picture of Buster in the owl box and post it as a lasting tribute to Teeny. Much love, hugs and kisses to you and virtual ones to the owls. Talk with you later cannot say Bye
    PattiinVA (Patricia Sowers)

  27. How can I even begin to thank you and all the wonderful people that I have net here? Such lovely thoughts already expressed. You have greatly enriched my life and I will never forget being here with you and the owls.

  28. Just in case someone here is able (thinking Fluer in particular) Can someone do a tribute video of clips from this season, set to music or something? Then post the link here? PLEASE???

  29. did tracy and allan already come on? Im having trouble with my coversion?

  30. About 15-20 more minutes Iwannafly!

  31. How emotional to say goodbye! We know that all three babies will do well!!

  32. Thank you for coming out onto your balcony to say your goodbyes to us. Allan and Tracy it has been a privelege to share your experience with PPO, Pappa and our owlets Jelani, Indie and never to be forgotten Teeny :)
    Helen your Teeny Tiny Owlet verse is lovely :)
    Goodbye...and i hope this will be repeated again with PPO next year (fingers and toes crossed!)

  33. Heh Cal is that you from England? Wales? Its luvmywildlife from the Safari channel... we spoke a lot remember? Just wondered if it was the same Cal

  34. Dear Allen and Tracy, Thank You so much for allowing us onto your balcony to watch these beautiful owls! Your heartfelt goodbye was wonderful! I pray the wetlands will not be touched and remain for all nature to flourish there! Helen, your poem was beautiful!
    Thank you again, Pappa (Allen) and Momma (Tracy)!
    Many blessings to you both!

  35. Bless the both of you. PPO must have known when she chose your patio that you were special and caring people. thank you for allowing us into your home and lives. We can't wait to watch next year from Seattle with lots of love. Jodi and family :)

  36. Allen and Tracy, I just finished your goodbye video and had tears in my eyes. I so appreciate the efforts you took to share the Pot Plant Owl and her family. I look forward to the next breeding season.

    Best Wishes,
    Madison WI USA

  37. I have been unable to log on over the weekend so did not see the goodbye video -- probably just as well as I would have been in tears! So Jelani, Indie and Teeny have moved on to the next stage of their life. I wonder how long they remain with their parents until leaving to live their separate lives. I wish them all good luck and pray God takes care of the three owlets and of course their caring parents PPO and Pappa. I cannot add anything more to the thanks already given to you Allan and Tracy for sharing your balcony with the owls and us and for spending so much time in blogging and chatting to keep us up to date. And of course a big thank you for saving Teeny's life. As someone said PPO knew what she was doing when she picked your balcony! You are wonderful people Allan and Tracy. I shall miss you and our little family but will look forward to next year. Meanwhile good luck for saving the wetlands and if you do have time to write a Teeny book that would be great! Janet

    PS. Thanks to Helen for the lovely Teeny poem

  38. What a lovely tribute that poem was Canadianbirder. I will miss our owlets but realize they are now on their way. We will all experience empty nest! xx Bigsis917/Robin

  39. Everyone above said it so much better than I ever could! I just want to add my heartfelt thanks to you two wonderful people for allowing all of us to camp out on the balcony with the owls. It was an amzingly emotional experience watching the chicks grow and their parents care. Thank you Tracy and Allan also for your friendly chatting with us, and letting us know exactly where the owls were and what was happening! The blog is incredibly entertaining as well as informative. I wish you success in your effort to save the wetlands for the species who live or hunt within it. Cannot wait for your alert that PPO and Pappa have started another family! See you next year, God willing. God bless you both. With love, Kristin aka knazaret, knaz

  40. Forgot to thank you for your lovely goodbye to us; the umbrella was such a perfect touch! as was Buster, and Teeny's Owl Box. It was so nice to see you!
    All of the people chatting were just wonderful as well; I am going to miss you all so much!