Tigger – Tawny Owl
Tigger was sent to the World Bird Sanctuary from another center in 1992. He had been injured as a young chick and was unreleasable. Tigger loves mice and venison and is known to call in public, even during the day. Listen for his “to-Wit, to-Woo” when you visit. Even though Tigger is considered sweet and easy going, his species as a whole can also be fierce little hunters.
Species: Tawny Owl
Latin Name: Strix aluco
Description: plumage is chestnut brown, heavily mottled with grey, brown and black streaks; face is round with deep set black eyes; plumage pattern gives this bird a blocky, thick-set look; like the American Barred Owl to which it is related, it lacks ear tufts
Sex: male and female similar in appearance; females slightly larger than males
Wingspan: 36″ – 42″
Weight: 14-20 oz.
Habitat: Mostly woodlands, parks, and recently urban areas
Status: most common and widespread owl in Europe
Range: with the exception of Ireland, distributed across Europe from Britain to Scandinavia,; into North Africa; North and West Asia
Behavior: territorial owls that use the same range throughout their lives; almost exclusively nocturnal, it hunts by swooping down on is prey from a perch, from which it may locate its prey with its keen hearing; males and females bond for life; the female lays 2-4 eggs in March or early April, in a hole in a tree or an abandoned nest; the female incubates the young while the male hunts and feeds the brood for about 21 days; then both parents feed the chicks; the young owlets leave the nest at 32-37 days and scramble around on nearby branches (at this point they are known as “branchers”; by 2 months old they are flying and beginning to hunt for themselves; by 3 months they are independent and begin to disperse.
Diet: small mammals and rodents, small birds, frogs, fish, insects and worms
Vocalization: the normal call is a duet: the female calls “To-whit”, to which the male replies “To-woo”; another call heard primarily in the fall is a loud “kee-wick”
Other Information: This owl is so popular in Great Britain that it makes an appearance in many pieces of English literature, including “Winnie the Pooh” and the “Harry Potter” books