Saturday, 31 May 2014

Breeding Season In Full Swing

It is very encouraging that 2014 is proving to be a very productive year following last year's desperate breeding success.

Box occupancy of Tawny Owls this year is at its highest level of recent times with good brood sizes too. Only last night did I ring the last owlet of the season.

It looks as though the local Barn Owl population has bounced back following the ravages of 2013. So far 50 breeding pairs have been found and they are showing great variety in terms of their development. Some birds that have already been ringed are ready to fledge whereas others, including a bird that I found this afternoon, are still incubating clutches of eggs.

Little Owls are reflecting the differing progress of their Barn Owl cousins. Some broods, such as this one, have already fledged whilst others birds are more in line with the norm and are still sat on clutches of eggs.

Kestrel box occupancy is also at its highest level for some time and it looks like we will find more young birds this year than ever before.

All in all things have started off very brightly in 2014.

Friday, 16 May 2014


Kestrels, along with Barn Owls, are enjoying a productive breeding season following the disappointments of 2013. The abundance of prey has meant that productivity is at its highest level for several years, with the biggest clutch found being a nest containing seven eggs compared to the norm of four or five. Breeding this year is earlier too and is about a fortnight ahead of  recent seasons. 

Breeding Female

Breeding Male

Monday, 5 May 2014

New Record

Earlier this evening I found this second year female incubating nine eggs. This is the largest clutch  that I have ever found and  is a direct  reflection of the availability of prey this year. Hopefully there will be enough room in the nest box for such a large brood to thrive. It will be interesting to return and see what happens.

Friday, 2 May 2014

May Day

May got off to a good start with the discovery of our 25th breeding pair of Barn Owls this season. This brood of five healthy chicks were found last night and their ages indicate that the first eggs were layed at the end of February. This is the earliest egg laying date locally since 2007.