Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Another water trough casualty

We received a report this week of another water trough casualty - this time a Tawny Owl.

Luckily the bird was rescued before it died, and taken to Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital where hopefully it will be rehabilitated.

This is a reminder of just how dangerous water troughs can be to wildlife. But by simply installing a suitable float, they can be made safe - see here water-troughs

So do please get in touch if you have a water trough on your land.

Saturday, 2 May 2020

2020 - a later breeding season for Barn Owls?

The 14 Barn Owl boxes where we have fitted cameras usually provide a good indication of the timing of the nesting season in the Middle Thames area.
But with the Covid-19 lockdown, we are only receiving information from six of these boxes where the householders are able to monitor the cameras for themselves.
All six boxes are occupied by Barn Owl pairs, but as yet egg laying has not started.
This suggests that 2020 might be a later breeding season than we've seen in recent years.

Update: The first eggs were laid at two of these camera-boxes on 12th and 15th May.

Saturday, 18 January 2020

Thursday, 17 October 2019

Barn Owl drowned in water trough

Sadly a Barn Owl has recently been found drowned in a water trough in our area.

This was a six year-old male bird that had bred regularly in one of our boxes. This year it had raised a first brood of 3 chicks, and its mate was incubating a second clutch when it died. The second clutch was subsequently abandoned.

Unfortunately, drowning in water troughs is not an uncommon occurrence for Barn Owls. Having got into a trough to bathe, they cannot then climb back up the steep slippery sides and become water-logged and drown.

But there is a simple and effective solution - to install a purpose-built float as shown here:

Trough float - plastic frame

Please go to the page Water Troughs for information on this.

Saturday, 13 July 2019

Barn Owl first brood ringing results

We've now completed our Barn Owl first brood ringing visits, a month earlier than usual.

In total there were 29 nest attempts, all but one of which were successful.

At the 27 nests revisited for ringing 75 chicks were ringed.

These are the highest numbers in the 5 years of our project.

We know of one second brood attempt already underway, and hope to find more during our September round of checking.

Update: as of 30th Sept we have found 7 attempts at second broods. 

Saturday, 6 July 2019

Barn Owl second broods

The young from those Barn Owl nests where egg laying started in March have now either fledged or are close to fledging.

So with a plentiful supply of voles still available, it is likely that several Barn Owl pairs will go on to attempt second broods this year. A further indicator is that few females started their annual moult during their first nesting attempt.

One pair we monitor started laying a second clutch on 5th July, having successfully raised a first brood of 6 chicks. For the second clutch the female moved into a chimney-style Tawny Owl box, located about 500m from the Barn Owl box used for the first brood.

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Tawny Owl nesting 2019

Tawny Owl chick
Our round of Tawny Owl box checking in the woods around Marlow revealed 2 Tawny Owl nests with broods of 2 and 3 chicks respectively.

The chicks were between 1 and 2 weeks old, so should be leaving the box in another week or two.

Several of the other boxes contained nesting Jackdaws, some with eggs and some already with recently hatched chicks.