A male Long-eared Owl had responded to the tape playback Survey in late March in a patch of mixed woodland near Newmarket, so a follow-up search of the area was made at dusk on Tuesday last. Despite watching and listening for an hour there was no sign of the owls. However, searching further into the woodland, the distinctive calls of two Long-eared Owl chicks were heard from a different area of woodland – the first of the year, and probably around two weeks old. Have a listen.
This is a movie file taken inside the forest at night, so there is no image, though the sound can be clearly heard (M.O'Clery).
These repetitive and distinctive calls are the young begging for food. While the calls were somewhat muffled by the surrounding trees, they still carried for around 120 - 140 m, but as they are not yet fully grown, they will get bigger and noisier. The sound of full-grown chicks can be heard at least half a kilometre away or more on occasions.
The nest itself was located, and will be examined further in daylight. More on that soon...