The pair-bonding is mostly monogamous, though the males are occasionally bigamous, and long-term. Under normal conditions courtship begins in late February. The male, during this period, hunts more by daylight in order to present food to his mate. As he patrols his territory he screeches so as to repel any rivals and also to attract the female. There is a good deal of attachment to traditional nest sites, and successive pairs tend to use the same ones for twenty or even thirty years. There are well authenticated cases where sites have been used in excess of a hundred years. The widespread use of artificial nest-boxes has over the recent past, proved to be successful. No nest is made, and even a scrape is thought to be no more than the fortuitous creation of the male's courtship behaviour. But, because the breeding season is so long, by the time the eggs are laid, there is often a soft bed of pellets and feathers. Between 4 and 6 un-glossed eggs are laid in April or early May. The eggs are incubated, almost entirely by the female, once the first egg is laid. The male feeds the female during the incubation period. The eggs hatch (asynchronously as with laying) after 32 to 34 days, and the young enjoy a remarkably lengthy fledging period of usually 60 days but can be anything up to 86 days. There are frequently 2 broods per year.
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