In the past, Eagle owls were extinct in Belgium since early 20th century. In 1982 birds were released from breeding programs, and slowly started to repopulate the country in the following decades. Anno 2015 the Belgian population is thought to consist of 125-135 breeding pairs, all but a few in the southern part of the country. In 2015, 93 youngsters were counted on the nesting sites, which are almost always found in abandoned or little used quarries.
Therefore it was big news when an eagle owl chick was spotted in a church tower in Flanders last week. The first breeding ever of eagle owl in a Belgian church.
I spent some time there last week and got to make the following images:
Amazing how these big and vocal birds kept below radar for many months. Only a few locals heard them, but did not know exactly what it was.
When I drove by the church, the chicks were sitting in plain sight.
What’s that fluffy thing up there in the tower?
When I arrived the first time it was raining, but one of the two chicks was out and about.
Rarely, the second chick also showed its head.
In advance, I was told that the owls can only be seen from a high distance, so I just took my big lens. Yet on arrival, I regretted not bringing along shorter lenses.
I had to solve this (once again) by taking pano images with my tele. Following images are composed of many pictures like the ones you see above.
So if anybody ever needs to print eagle owl (or church tower) pics in huge format, give me a call.
Los hombres del bubo, estaban muy muy satisfechos
In the evening, you can see mom and dad visiting and feeding their youngsters. We saw and heard them very well.
Apparently, the young have fledged on sunday night (19/6), and are not in the church tower anymore.