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The animal on the cover of qmail is a tawny owl. Generally, it’s dark brown and streaked with black and buff, but occasionally, it is grey. The tawny owl is the most common owl in Britain, and its distribution extends from Europe to North Africa and eastward to Iran and western Siberia. It is also found in India, southern China, Korea, and Taiwan.
The tawny owl does not built its own nest, rather it nests in natural holes and in the abandoned nests of crows, magpies, and even the nests of buzzards. It remains within its nesting territory all year round and pairbonds last for life. The female tawny owl will stay with her nestlings while the male gathers food. While the male hunts for rabbits, moles, mice, shrews, and other rodents, the female defends her territory passionately with threatening behavior and erratic flying. Occasionally, a human is attacked; in Britain, at least two people are known to have lost an eye, including Eric Hosking, the famous bird photographer.
The tawny owl is best known for its distinctive song. The normal song of the male owl announces territory, courtship, and food. The song begins with a drawn out hooo and then is followed by a pause before the male owl abruptly sings out ha, followed immediately by ...