Saturday, 29 April 2017

Barn Owl family successfully re-united

"tarred" Barn Owl
At one of our Barn Owl camera boxes, a clutch of seven eggs was near to hatching when one night the male disappeared.
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.

Male Barn Owl, recovered and ready for release
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

Happy ending:
All seven eggs hatched, and four of the chicks went on to fledge successfully.

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.