Last night the Barn Owl ringing in the garden of my local friends went ahead like a well-oiled machine. I arrived half an hour before the scheduled start to help set up the scaffolding tower that later would be wheeled over to the nest box containing the chicks. This was duly done under the supervision of the ringing team, on their arrival.
There had been concern that only three chicks out of four had been visible on camera since Friday. Sadly the ringers confirmed that this was the case. There was absolutely no trace of the fourth chick. However, there were three rather large chicks, with primary flight feathers developing nicely.
There was, naturally of course, speculation as to what had happened to the fourth chick, as there had been no 'runt in the litter', and cannibalism was ruled out as food was in plentiful supply. Because the chicks had started to appear in the doorway of the nest box at around the time of the disappearance, the theory that was given most credence was that the Peregrine that my friends had seen in the garden at around that time might have taken the chick from the doorway.
For security reasons, I'm not showing any images of the impressive set up, or of the persons involved, but here are a few images that I took yesterday.
|the smallest of the chicks|
|the largest chick being ringed|
|a fine clutch!|
And finally my favourite image of the evening!
|the middle chick|