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.

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Middle Thames Ringing Group

From 2019 onwards, all BBOG ringing activity has been consolidated under the Middle Thames Ringing Group.

The Middle Thames RG also manage several woodland nest box schemes for Blue Tit, Great Tit, Marsh Tit and Nuthatch, and operate ringing projects for summer migrants, winter thrushes, waders and farmland birds.

See their website: Middle Thames Ringing Group

Thursday, 21 March 2019

First Barn Owl eggs of 2019

First egg
At one of our Barn Owl camera-boxes the first egg was laid on 20th March. The clutch was completed with 7 eggs.

UPDATE: On 23 April at another box, we found a female brooding chicks, the oldest of which was c.10days old. This implies the first egg was laid c.12 March.

These early dates may well be a result of the unusually warm weather in the second half of February giving an early boost to the vole population.