In March I posted about a trip to replace some of our older boxes with new ones and remarked that the habitat was fantastic. This evening the adage that a good home in a food-rich habitat will enable birds to breed successfully has proved to be true.
Three nest boxes within 200 meters of each other all contained birds. The fist box held a brood of five Kestrels which were duly ringed and the second held this solitary female Kestrel youngster, she was about 10 days older than the birds in the first brood and it may well be that some of her elder siblings have already fledged.
The final box held the same female Barn Owl that was in residence in early March and she was incubating a single chick that was only a few days old along with four eggs that have yet to hatch. The image below shows how well-developed her brood patch is. A brood patch is where the female bird sheds some feathers to expose an area of bare skin and this enables blood vessels near to the surface of the skin to transfer heat to the eggs during the incubation period. Following incubation the feathers are then regrown.
We will return later in the season to check upon progress of the brood of owlets.