ON a live TV screen showing in my gallery I can see a pair of tawny owls roosting. The two spend their days snuggled tight up together, only waking occasionally to preen each other’s facial discs with tender affection.

Live images of this loved-up couple are relayed to the screens from a camera hidden inside a nest box I made specifically for them in my garden.

These owls have occupied this box every day since early December. Their courtship process began well before most birds had begun to think about finding a mate. In fact these two owls began to woo one another whilst there was still a hard frost underfoot.

My winter nights were punctuated with the soft, reverberating calls of the male. This sound is very distinctive: a single note repeated again and again it is often compared to an ocarina, an ancient wind musical instrument notable for its pure ethereal tone.

The male only makes this sound when he is trying to entice a female into a nest site.

But on the screens connected to my live cameras, I could see the male had already won his mate. In fact I’ve been watching these owls for many years and these two are actually a well-established couple.

The female, who has ginger-coloured feathers, and the male, a darker-toned bird with a beautiful row of dark feathers barring his white-tipped tail, have brought up many different broods in my garden.

Each summer I offer food to them and their latest brood on a bird table right outside my living room window.

Tawny owls mate for life and these two are clearly no exception. However, they go through this affectionate courtship ritual every year. I believe its purpose is to reaffirm their bond.

Soon after the start of the New Year, the male’s ocarina calls get more frequent and by February, the pair is already making plans for their eggs.

They take it in turns to scrape a perfect hollow into the debris lining the floor of the nest.

Owls don’t build nests and these shallow scrapes are all the groundwork these eggs will need.

Tawny owls nest inside natural hollows in trees and my box, which I hoisted into the fork of a sycamore tree, replicates this habitat precisely.

Now, as the weather has begun to warm up, the tawnys appear quite settled in the very same nest box they chose right back in December.

This isn’t always the case. Every year, the male tawny owl inspects several different potential nest sites to try them for size.

Once he has picked out his favourite, he calls the female to come and examine it. I get quite anxious during this time since there is always the chance that she won’t approve.

This happened last year. Just as I was looking forward to watching the female lay a clutch of eggs, the pair upped-sticks and moved into a natural tree hollow elsewhere in the valley and I wasn’t able to follow their lives via my cameras.

It can also be a very tense time for the owls, since just as the tawnys are making their final selections, other birds are also looking for potential nest sites. Vicious fights often ensue.

At times like this the male tawny owl has a job on his hands keeping his competitors at bay whilst his mate makes her mind up. His frustration as she carefully inspects each site is almost palpable.

The tawny owls are the first of the birds of prey in my garden to lay eggs, and subsequently, these eggs are the first to hatch.

As I watch the pair contentedly rub their heads together on my screens, I am looking forward to the seeing their eggs, which, if all goes well, should be here within a fortnight.

I also can’t wait to welcome a new clutch of baby tawny owls into the garden and to hearing their familiar ke-wicks and hoots fill the night sky.

Live screens relaying images directly from this tawny owl nest are on display in my gallery in Thixendale. Come and can enjoy watching their story as it unfolds or follow it on my blog robertefuller.com

Robert Fuller’s gallery in Thixendale is open every weekday from 9.30am to 4.30pm and on weekends from 10.30am to 4.30pm.