Tale of a Pel’s fishing owl

During the latter stages of May last year, the Shenton Safaris guides operating out of Kaingo Camp, were delighted to discover nesting Pel’s fishing owls close to Acacia grove. To raise their levels of excitement, two fluffy white heads were seen peeping over the rim of the nest.The nest appeared invulnerable to most predators, arboreal or terrestrial, set as it was in the fork of a massive African ebony (Diospyros mespiliformis).

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The chicks seemed well-cared for, especially with a least one adult always close to hand.

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Unfortunately the Pel’s is also one of those species where siblicide is prevalent, so we did not hold much hope for the survival of both chicks. It was not much later that this proved to be true and only one chick was seen peeking from the nest before feeding times. The first born chick usually out competes the second born at feeding times and it tragically dies of starvation.

As the months passed the growth of the chick was closely followed and often its low, keening call could be heard whistling through the acacia grove, as it shouted its hunger for all to hear.

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And the delightful day came when the young bird fledged and its flight away from the nest was captured on camera.

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