Saturday, 13 June 2015

Bad news for barn owls

Tonight I went to a barn owl ringing demonstration at Lower Derwent Valley NNR. We were supposed to see barn owl chicks being ringed, but it's bad news for the owls so far in 2015.  The vole cycle is at a low and the adult birds cannot get enough food to raise a brood - 30 nest boxes had been checked but there wasn't a single chick.

It may be that the owls breed later in 2015 when the vole population hopefully goes into an upward phase of its cycle, but in the meantime a pair of adult barn owls without leg rings had been carefully 'bagged' and we watched them being ringed instead (the birds are much calmer when laid on their backs).
When the ringing was all done the owls were released to fly off silently over the fields.