Early this afternoon a farmer contacted us to say that he had some Barn Owl chicks in a box high up in one of his barns on his farm near to Widnes.
With the welcome aid of a cherry-picker I was able to check the box with relative ease and snuggled deep inside was this brood of six owlets which were duly ringed. Yes SIX owlets in this year of relative breeding inactivity, the largest brood of the year for me.
The birds had a good spread of ages, ranging from the eldest on the left at 45 days down to the youngest on the right at 30 days. This demonstrates the asynchronous hatching that is commonplace in broods of Barn Owls which is designed to guarantee the survival of the eldest birds sometimes at the expense of their smaller siblings. These birds are quite well developed however and at this stage all should survive through to fledging.