Windows on wonderful wildlife
Kingswood residents enjoy close encounters of the bird kind.14th Dec 2020
For some it’s golf, for some it’s the proximity to the Garden Route, and for some it’s the convenience of living in a big town with a small-town heart – or is it a small town with big-town facilities? But for many residents, the privilege of being close to wildlife is the best part of living in Kingswood.
There are springbok, bushbuck, caracal and many other small mammals, loads of interesting little insects and other creepy crawlies, and – best of all – lots of birds. Of course, you’ll see lots if you take a walk along some of the lovely trails, but – really – you don’t even have to leave your house, as Pieter Steyn shows with these gorgeous photos he sent us of baby owls that were born right outside his kitchen window.
Spotted Eagle Owls make great neighbours
A pair of Spotted Eagle Owls discovered, about eight years ago, that the planter outside the Steyns’ kitchen was the perfect place to raise a family. So that’s what they’ve been doing. This year, they hatched three chicks, one of which, unfortunately, didn’t make it – despite the birds’ being excellent parents. They’re amazing hunters, says Pieter. They regularly bring home mice, rats, small birds and reptiles, and even a bat.
It was a big day on 16 November, when the little ones left the nest for the first time, fluttering their wobbly way out into the big wide world. Sometimes they’d only go a short way, and then have to rest on the ground, where they were at risk from attack by dogs or cats, but Mum and Dad were there to keep an eye on them. (Bear this in mind, if you see a baby bird you think has been abandoned – sometimes it’s just resting.) Anyhow, it’s all going well so far. Every day, the baby birds get a little surer of their wings, and they fly more steadily and strongly, and for longer. They’ve started exploring the estate, with their parents still carefully watching over them, and it won’t be long till they are – literally – fully fledged Kingswood residents, and will be able to hunt all their own food.
Coexisting with birds
We know how privileged we are to have birds living on our estate, which is why all the kitties have to wear bells, and one of the reasons why we recommend that they stay indoors as much as possible. And keep an eye on your dogs when you’re out walking, as they can sometimes harass birds that are nesting. And, most important, if you find an injured bird, inform the HOA immediately – they will know who to contact for help. Most importantly, though, enjoy the birds on your estate. Living with them in such close proximity is an absolute privilege – just one of the great things about living in South Africa in general, the Garden Route more particularly, and specifically Kingswood. Of course, just one more advantage of having owls on the estate is that they keep the rodent population down.
Spread the love
Please send us pix and stories if you have had interesting positive interactions with wildlife, as we’d love to feature them in future editions of the Kingswood Buzzard. It doesn’t have to be animals – even plants have interesting stories.
We welcome more Kingswood feathered residents. Thank you to the Maree family for sending through this photo of the recently hatched owls.