March 20, 2011

Rivalry is not just a human trait. It is particularly marked amongst in the ever competitive natural world. This morning I saw a fine example and not for the first time.

The Barn Owls on the Common seem to have established their territory and their nest site.  It is a normal morning when you spot one of the pair quietly residing on a fence post whilst the other is hunting in the languid way that they have. I can never be certain if it is always the same one of the pair that is doing the hard work, but I like to imagine that it is a shared work-ethic.

After completing a careful circuit of the Common, the whiter Owl of the pair had settled in the hedge bear Common Lane. After a few minutes, it’s quiet contemplation was ended.  A female Kestrel, having spotted the perching Owl, flew low with great intent and speed directly at it.  As it got nearer it appeared to steeple and tried to strike. I doubt that it made contact but it certainly succeeded in driving it’s rival away.

I had seen this happen before. On one occasion whilst sitting over breakfast, having borrowed Fiona’s house when the builders had taken over at home, we looked out at a flurry in the garden as a Barn Owl and a Kestrel parachuted down connected by their talons. That made us splutter into our cereals.

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