About the Author

James Tyrrell

Photographic Guide/Media Team

James had hardly touched a camera when he came to Londolozi, but his writing skills that complemented his Honours degree in Zoology meant that he was quickly snapped up by the Londolozi blog team. An environment rich in photographers helped him develop the ...

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9 Comments

on Just How Well Can Owls See?

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Callum Evans
Guest contributor

Owls have got to be among my favourite birds, especially the Verreaux’s (which I’ve seen twice)! It’s quite impressive that you have all but one of the Southern African owl species on Londolozi, I’m guessing you’ve seen Pels there before?
And I wouldn’t say no to having barn owls as neighbours (even if they are annoying loud, which I know from experience)!

Callum Evans
Guest contributor

And a very interesting read too!

Marinda Drake
Master Tracker

Love these informative blogs. Interesting facts about owls. We have got wood owls in the garden and luckily it is a lovely gentle sound in the night.

Ian Hall
Senior Digital Ranger

The scops owl has to be my favourite, though I did find a large tawny owl in my garden at midnight last week.
It had taken up residence over the framework of my fishpond.
Suspect it was waiting for a mouse or similar

Wendy Macnicol
Explorer

Neil and I just love owls. However, the stories in children’s books are always about the “old wise owl”. We have been a couple of times to a place in Woodmead, Johannesburg, called “Free Me” to hand in an injured small animal (wild) or a bird in need of some TLC from people who know what they are doing. When I was last there we watched a lecture by the ladies who run it on birds of prey. They had an owl and were trying to teach him to fly. Then they flattened all future thoughts of mine about “wise old owls” by saying, in their experience, owls were the dimmest birds ever! Other birds were much quicker to understand what they were supposed to do but the owls took forever to learn anything at all! However – the ladies admitted that they are VERY good at just being owls!
Thought I would just pop that in. Wendy M

Wendy Macnicol
Explorer

Hi again James. Just a P.S. We are so surprised that Londolozi doesn’t have as yet any Cape Eagle Owls. Game farms in the Waterberg Mountains have them. Quite often when on late afternoon / evening game drives we have seen them. We live in Windsor East / border of Robin Hills in Randburg. We live on a North facing hill and have 2 resident Cape Eagle Owls. They seem to be male and female and we have often seen them talking to each other silhouetted on a chimney. They would have a fabulous view over the valley. We can see the Hartebeestpoor Dam hills very clearly in Summer particularly – about 53 kms away. On clear days we can also see the Voortrekker Monument too from our bedroom / lounge / balcony. So that will tell you that the owls here would have a great view over the trees and gardens and would be able to pin down any small mammal / bird with their incredible eyes and ears. Warm regards to you all at Londolozi. You all do a fantastic job! Wendy M AGAIN.

Joanne Wadsworth Kelley
Digital Tracker

Whether twisting their heads or cocking from side to side, owls and owlets are extraordinary to see and watch. With their keen senses and silent soaring they obviously are healthy and self sufficient. The silent soaring bit hasn’t made me very happy in past months as a recently fledged juvie Eagle was knocked off it’s nest branch during the night and severely injured when it fell to the ground. Thousands gasped while watching it occur on the night cam. This particular nest has been located for 10 years by the same mated pair of Eagles. Perhaps this was a defensive move by the Owl who might have nested nearby -or- perhaps it was just being ornery. Regardless, that’s Nature for you. Speaking of Nature, I hope your pair of Owls stop their shrieking or you may need to invest in a pair of ear plugs! Lol.

Denise Vouri
Digital Tracker

I know what you mean by the nightly shrieking of the barn owls. We have them here in the Bay Area and a couple take up residence in a tall pine tree not far from my bedroom window. Needless to say, sometimes sleep is at a premium when they’re around. Interesting blog!!

Iris Lane
Digital Ranger

Come on, James, what about serious earplugs? Not just cotton wool, but noise stoppers!

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