We are fast approaching the chilly winter months. Generally, for animals, this is a time for finding suitable hibernation places, migrating to warmer climates or bracing themselves for the cold season.
However, for spotted eagle owls (bubo africanus), it is the beginning of something very exciting.
As we know, winter also brings the shortest day, which for most people is a glorious sign that we are halfway through winter. The shortest day is significant for spotted eagle owls as the change in the photoperiod is the hormonal trigger that ‘kicks’ them into breeding condition.
This is what they have been waiting for all year. It heralds new life, eggs, food exchanges, solicitation, copulation and, you guessed it, baby owls.
The breeding season for these owls usually runs until December in the southern hemisphere. Spotted eagle owls have an average clutch size of between two to four eggs which are laid a day or two apart.
On a quiet evening, you can listen out for the spotted eagle owl with its musical hoot. The male calls with two hoots ‘hoo-hoo’, and the female answers with three hoots ‘hoo-hoohoo’.
Have you spotted any of these creatures? Share your stories and pictures with us in the comments below!