Sunday, 30 September 2012

Post-breeding moult

Once a pair's young are well grown and ready to make their own way in the world the male bird will often begin the process of moulting his main flight feathers. The process will involve replacing certain feathers each year and the whole process can take four years until all of its flight feathers have been renewed. By contast the female will replace her flight feathers whilst she is confined to the nest site caring for her offspring. Sometimes, especially if she is going to double-brood, she will not begin her moult process until later in the year.

Inspection of nest sites can often reveal evidence of these flight feathers being replaced and can be a good indicator of the bird's activities. This nest site that was checked upon yesterday had produced four young that had fledged in July and now the parents are roosting together following the juvenile dispersal.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Checks for second broods.

I decided to take advantage of today's glorious sunshine and begin to search Barn Owl sites for potential second broods this afternoon.The first two sites that I had hopes for yielded nothing but empty boxes but my third and final attempt of the day saw me find the solitary youngster pictured above.

This is the first time since 2009 that successful second brood nesting has taken place within Mid-Cheshire; hopefully there will be more birds to find over the next few weeks.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Tonight I ringed this solitary owl near to Great Budworth. His parents had suffered a failed breeding attempt earlier in the year but managed to try again later in the Summer. This is the second successive year that the site has been successful following the erection of nestboxes during the Winter of 2010-2011.