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Europe's largest owl raises babies on windowsill of apartment

07:08 20/05/2020
From Flanders Today

man living in Geel in Antwerp province got the surprise of his life when he found a Eurasian eagle owl nesting on his windowsill. Jos Baart lives in a third floor apartment in the centre of town, which makes the situation even more unique.

Eagle owls are Europe’s largest species of owl and are seldom seen in Flanders. Like most owls, they avoid urban area, so it’s anyone’s guess why this female chose Baart’s apartment window. What’s even more exciting: There are now three baby Eagle owls in the nest.

The outer windowsills on the building are extremely wide, and there are shrubs planted between the nest and the edge of the sill. So the chicks are fairly well protected from the outside world as well as the elements.


This gives Baart, however, an excellent view. “It’s like watching a movie,” he told the Dutch programme Vroege Vogels, which ran a segment on the unexpected event (above). “You wake up in the morning, and there they are sitting right in front of the window. It’s just wonderful.”

While the mother owl tends to be shy when there is movement in the flat and hide among the shrubs, the baby owls have no such concern. They stare inside all the time and even seem to be watching the movement on Baart’s TV. “They’re not at all frightened,” he said. “They are completely relaxed.”

The chicks are now about a month old and already quite big. “They’ll probably stay another two months, can you imagine how big they’ll be?” said Baart. “At one point they won’t be here anymore, and then I’ll have empty nest syndrome.”

In the meantime, environmental organisation Natuurpunt has come by to ring the babies so they can later be recognised. As for Baart, he hopes they come back and nest at his again in future.

Video and still courtesy Vroege Vogels

Written by Flanders Today