Thursday, 28 April 2011

Nest Record News

The BTO recently published its 2010 nest records data and the results revealed that the brood sizes for Barn Owls was 10.8% down compared to the average of the previous five years. In fact the data shows us that the average number of chicks per brood was the third lowest on record.

 This reflects the impact that poor vole numbers can have on the plight of the Barn Owl.

First breeding of 2011

Today I came across our first breeding female of 2011. She is two years old and I had ringed her last year (second bottom picture to compare with today's bottom picture) when she was paired up with a male bird although they did not breed.

She is proudly sat with five eggs and her partner is providing well for her, as the cache of field voles awaiting consumption demonstrates.

If all goes well her chicks should be ready for us to ring in June.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Tawny Chicks

Following a call from Tom at Higher Whitley I called tonight with Roy to check one of our Tawny Owl boxes. Inside were three very young birds with a good cache of food to keep them going. We have arranged to call back in a few weeks time to check upon their progress.

Saturday, 2 April 2011


I collected a fresh owl pellet from underneath one of our boxes at Whatcroft a few day's ago. It contained the fur and bones of three short-tailed field voles (the preferred prey of Barn Owls) and hopefully this is a good indicator of prey availability as the breeding season progresses.