Day 2: Barn Owl Monitoring 30DaysWild

30 Days Wild 

Day 2 

Today I’d planned to check on some barn owl nest sites for occupancy and whether or not any chicks were ready to be ringed. I headed to the first site after work and came up empty, this nest box really needs located; following forestry operations the location isn’t 100% suitable now and hasn’t been occupied for at least the last two years.

The second sites was much better and on arrival a pair of barn owls left the box. I quickly checked the box to find a pair of eggs, one in the midst of hatching. I left quickly and the owls will have been back in no time. We can plan ahead now and ring the chicks at the correct age.

Barn owl eggs – the left is hatching

I also checked on a natural cave and root system nest site. A pair of barn owls were at home but they’re using one of the least accessible tunnels for ringing. It’s likely that they may have been incubating eggs too, no chicks could be heard. This nest site is incredible and reminds us that barn owls managed long before humans and barns, many natural sites are chosen. This location was incredibly lush and green and was an absolute jungle to navigate. Lovely woodland flowers could be seen like greater stitchwort. The midges in the sheltered spot certainly enjoyed the feast I created.

A natural barn owl nest site – incredible 

The final two nest boxes were unoccupied, with no signs of use and both of these sites have drawn blanks in the last few years so again, they could be relocated to somewhere more suitable.

So far, this year seems to be a good owl year. The weather has been great for the last month and the vole cycle is on a high, meaning plenty of prey for the owls. Hopefully they’ll all do much better than 2015! It is definitely a good year for ticks, I certainly came out of the bracken with many more legs than I had when I went in!

WildChild Scotland (@WildChild_Sco)

(I have the correct licensing and permissions to do these checks and this is done for monitoring and ringing purposes).


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