Wednesday, 22 June 2022

How to tell the sex of a Little Owl

It was a hot day and the Carrions Crows were sensibly staying in the shade.

A Magpie skilfully extracted a peanut from its shell.

A pleasing picture by Mark Williams of a newly independent young Great Tit coming to take food from his hand.

The young Little Owls near the Round Pond are usually hard to see in the top of a horse chestnut tree, but I managed to get a view of one through a gap in the leaves.

This is their father in the next tree. When not hunting for the young, parents keep well clear of them to avoid being pestered.

Both the owlets at the Serpentine Gallery were at the top of the broken trunk of the sweet chestnut tree.

Again, their mother was in a different tree. In these photographs of adults it's easy to tell the difference between the small thin male and the bigger rounder female, though when they are fluffed up on a cold day it can be harder. Males usually have wider, shaggier eyebrows.

I managed to get some sort of a video of the two young Grey Herons in the nest at the west end of the island. One is clearly visible and the other, to its right, can be seen moving about behind the leaves. This is the best view we're going to get of this awkwardly sited nest.

A Cormorant was panting and vibrating its throat to cool down.

A Great Crested Grebe tried to start a nest by draping strands of algae over a wire basket. They are really not at all good at nest building.

There are Coot nests all along both sides of the Long Water. This one, under the fallen poplar at the Vista, has produced a chick I hadn't noticed before.

A family of Egyptian Geese and four Mute Swan cygnets shared a patch of shade beside a reed bed at the Lido.

The cygnets are beginning to grow long necks.

There were six Red-Crested Pochards on the Long Water. The drakes are going into eclipse. The one on the left already has female-type plumage, but its red bill shows that it's male.

Red-Eyed Damselflies mated on the algae in the Italian Garden.

A Buff-Tailed Bumblebee climbed up a spike of Viper's Bugloss behind the Lido.


  1. That Cygnet is fairly on its way to become a beauty, like its sires.

    I have sort of a rule to tell the Little Owls's sex: if they look like Queen Victoria in owl form, then it's the female.

  2. It's true about female Little Owls, small but majestic. Victoria herself was 4ft 11in (= 59in, 1.50m) tall and in later life 60in (= 5ft, 1.52m) around the hips. But male Little Owls can fluff themselves up impressively on cold days and look quite rotund.