Tawny Owl With Mandarin Ducklings

Check out this story and video from the BBC about a tawny owl (which nests in a box they way our screech owls do here in the US).  The box is fitted with a nest cam and watchers were expecting owlets.  However, they were surprised to find mandarin ducklings running around and all over the owl in the box (kind of like a screech owl with wood duck ducklings running around all over). The article paints a prettier picture by saying that the ducklings will hop out but who knows if they will without a female duck below to call at them.  Since these ducks are precocial like wood ducks--meaning they are fully mobile after hatching and follow their parents while picking up food on their own they do not need to be fed by the adults.  Confusion will be had by all if the male returns with a mouse and the female attempts to feed the ducklings who will not beg for it.

A few days before hatching, the ducklings pip from inside the egg, the hen calls back and the imprinting process begins.  If these ducklings heard anything, it's the coos of the tawny owl--will they stay in the box if the owl does?  If hunger forces the ducklings to hop out, will they be able to hook up with another brood?  Will they be able to do it before a fox...or the male tawny owl catches them?  Who can say, but it sounds like that pond had some egg dumping going on and more duck and owl boxes need to go up.

This is similar to the osprey with the Canada goose gosling incident we had happen in the western suburbs of the Twin Cities a few years ago.