Saturday, 8 July 2017

Barn Owls in Cambridgeshire - 7th July 2017

We hadn't seen PW for a long while and as he's been kind enough to take WA and LON  out, giving them the benefit of his experience, we arranged to help him with some of the boxes most difficult to access.

We had a very successful tour around -

Box one, roosting adult not captured.

Box two, one adult male (unusual as normally females remain with owlets) and one young Barn Owl.

Box three, two young Barn Owls

Boxes four (aged and fallen from its mounting) and five (evidence of fledged Stock Doves) paired boxes.

Box four was cleared of all the sticks (old Jackdaw nest)
and taken to be renovated before re-siting.

There are three reasons for pairing boxes a) males will use the second for roosting after eggs hatch b) where Kestrels compete with Barn Owls, there is one for each pair and c) providing the second box has not been occupied a second clutch is often laid in the other box.

Box six two young

Box seven three young Kestrels

Box eight two young Barn Owls

Measuring P7 for length of emerged feather and an indication of age

Box nine two young Barn Owls

 Another barn sited Barn Owl 'des res'

A well grown young female Barn Owl

Box ten four young Barn Owls

The brood mode is two this year although we had one box with four healthy young. The good news is that some boxes had young extremely close to fledging, in fact, if not checked today may well have gone without being measured, recorded and ringed. So the owls clearly got off to a flying start this year, meaning some will fledge before boxes are checked (PW and his team look after a lot of boxes over a wide area), but there will be a good chance of any second broods fledging early in October giving a better chance of survival in their first winter.

Totals - 15

Kestrel - 3 pullus
Barn Owl - 1 adult male and 11 pullus