Thursday, 22 June 2017

2017 Barn Owl season so far...........

The 2017 Barn Owl season has been the earliest we've experienced to-date, with 5 pairs commencing egg-laying before end-March.

These broods are now on the point of fledging, so hopefully there will be some second broods to come.

Meanwhile at 4 nests the females are still incubating.


In total there are 22 active nests in our boxes with 3 further boxes occupied by pairs which have not started laying.

If the fine weather holds, 2017 promises to be a record year for Barn Owls fledged in our area

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Barn Owl family successfully re-united

Male Barn Owl, recovered and ready for release
At one of our Barn Owl camera boxes, a clutch of seven eggs was near to hatching when one night the male failed to appear. He wasn't seen for the next two nights either, so we began leaving food for the female to help her continue incubating the eggs until his return.

On day four we learned that the local postman had rescued a "tarred" Barn Owl from the roadside nearby, and taken it to a wildlife hospital. It was a male, so almost certainly the male from the box. He was cleaned-up (the "tar" turned out to be sticky molasses) and fed for a week until he was fit and well, and then released back where he had been found. It had been 11 days since he had disappeared and meanwhile two of the eggs had hatched.

We were relieved to see that on release the male Barn Owl flew straight to the nest box and was greeted warmly by the female.

On the first night after his return the male roosted in the box but did not bring in any food. The next night he brought in two prey items to the female. So we are hopeful that all is now well, and that nature can take its course.
Barn Owl chick (female) at 37 days old

Mid-June update:
All seven eggs hatched, but only four of the chicks have survived this far.







Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Barn Owls make an early start in 2017

We have now checked 10 of our regular Barn Owl sites where the boxes are fitted with cameras:

- Four of these already have complete clutches of 6,6,6 & 7 eggs, with first-egg-dates of 24th, 28th, 29th and 29th March.

- A fifth female is still laying, with the first egg laid on 4th April.

- Two further boxes have Barn Owls which have not yet started laying.

- Two other boxes contain stock dove nests and the last site is as yet unoccupied.

So the signs are for an early and productive nesting season in South Buckinghamshire.

Friday, 24 March 2017

First Barn Owl egg of 2017 laid 24 March


The first Barn Owl egg of 2017 was laid on 24th March in one of our owl boxes fitted with a camera.

This is a couple of weeks earlier than in previous years, and is hopefully the precursor to a productive breeding year in 2017.

Diary:
1st egg: laid 24 March;    hatched 25 April
7th egg: laid 7 April;       hatched 8 May


Tuesday, 21 February 2017

State of the UK Barn Owl Population 2016

The Barn Owl Trust has recently published a report on the UK Barn Owl population in 2016, available by clicking on the following link

State of the Barn Owl population in 2016

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Barn Owl travels 65km

Typically young Barn Owls disperse up to 10km away from the nest site they fledge from. However some will travel further.

We've recently learned that a chick we ringed in 2015 at a site near to Marlow was found the following year breeding in a nest box 65km away in Northamptonshire.

Many thanks to Paddy Jackson who runs the Northants Barn Owl Project for reporting this bird.

This is an example of the valuable information generated by the BTO ringing scheme.

GR32432