Wednesday, 8 July 2020

A difficult Barn Owl nesting season

Due to Covid-19 we've had to carry out our Barn Owl monitoring in a "socially distanced" format. Despite this, we've managed to check 56 of the most likely boxes within our RAS area.

The results show a very poor breeding season with just eight nest attempts, four of which had failed at the egg stage. No doubt the result of a lack of voles for prey.

Three chicks have been ringed at two of the nests, with the other two surviving nests to be revisited.

It will be interesting to see if this picture is repeated across the region.

As last year was a bumper breeding season, this shouldn't pose a long-term risk to the local Barn Owl population.

Barn Owl from West Berkshire

A female Barn Owl (GV38940) found nesting in a box near Marlow had been ringed as a chick in 2016 at Englefield, West Berkshire - a distance of 28 km.

This is only the fourth Barn Owl that we have encountered so far that was ringed outside our area.

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