Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens is without a doubt one of Cape Town’s most special places to visit. And this pair of Spotted Eagle Owls agree! The pair have been visiting the iconic location since 2016/2017 to breed, and this year, 2021, is no different.
The feathery couple breeds at the Visitor Centre courtyard in one of the plant baskets close to the water feature. It’s all too romantic.
In previous years, the Eagle Owls have been spotted with two chicks — something to celebrate!Unfortunately, they lost one of their chicks by drowning in the water feature below in 2017.
Since then, measures were put in place by the Kirstenbosch team to ensure the survival of chicks. These measures involve the installation of a shade net over the water to prevent the owlets falling out of the basket.
Just yesterday, other safety measures were taken by Elton le Roux (Estate Manager at Kirstenbosch NBG) under the direction of Peter Steyn.
Peter Steyn, a raptor expert, and member of the Cape Bird Club for the past 70 years has been directing the management of owl breeding at Kirstenbosch from behind the scenes for the better part of a decade.
The two chicks (at the age of 2-3 weeks) were safely removed from the nest in the basket and relocated to another spot in the garden.
It’s expected that the parent owls will reconnect with the chicks through their wheezing call and continue feeding them. This is because owls are known to have an acute sense of hearing that helps them detect sounds/calls.
We wish the little owlets a successful journey toward adulthood.
Don’t miss out on the unique opportunity to ‘see the invisible’ at Kirstenbosch
Source: Nomndeni Kosi and Elton le Roux
Photographs: Elton le Roux