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Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Barn Owl Update - on 12th June, 2012

My local friends' Barn Owls are continuing to successfully raise their brood of four chicks. A week or so ago the female, who up until then had resolutely stayed in the smaller of the nest boxes with the chicks, started to emerge and spend time with the male bird in the nearby larger box.

I went last Monday (4th June) and set up my camera in my hide. Whilst I was in the kitchen talking to my friends before settling in my hide, the female bird emerged (at approximately 20:00) and popped next door to be with the male. Damn! - I missed recording my first sighting of this bird with the naked eye (always been seen on the nest cam before). I quickly went to my hide and sat waiting. Frustration set in as the sun came out shining brightly on the boxes with no birds in sight. By the time that the first bird emerged, closely followed by the second at 20:51, the sun was already off the boxes and the rest of the garden.

For a short while, both birds were out together on the veranda of the more distant box. Then they both departed. 

 One of the birds returned at 21:04, bringing a decent-sized rodent which it immediately took into the box with the chicks. Over a period of 34 minutes, the pair of them delivered  five good-sized rodents to the chicks. These youngsters were certainly not going to go hungry!






 As the light had completely gone and further attempts at photography were pointless, as soon as both birds were away, I packed up and retired to the kitchen. When I left, at about 22.20, both birds were still hunting and bringing back food. It has to be assumed that the chicks are now well capable of feeding themselves from the food that their parents deliver.

On Friday I had a message to say that one of the chicks had ventured to poke its head out of the box. I suspect that it's only a short time before I'll be seeing juveniles when I visit.

As of last night, there was little change, except that one of the four juveniles was not visible via the camera, which only has limited coverage of the inside of the box. We're keeping our fingers crossed that it was hiding out of camera range.

I've been invited for the ringing of the chicks, due to take place on Thursday, having been postponed from Tuesday, so maybe a further update after this.

8 comments:

  1. Wonderful images Richard and it's especially nice to see the adults provisioning the youngsters with loads of lovely tidbits. They should be growing by leaps and bounds but I guess you'll find out on Thursday. Looking forward to that set of images!

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    1. Thank you Phil. I'm really looking forward to Thursday. I just hope that it's not postponed again - those chicks are getting quite large!

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  2. How lovely, to see these birds in the flesh, wild....and in someone's garden. Look forward to seeing your images on the ringing.

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    1. Yes Linda, I'm getting a lot of pleasure from following the fortunes of these birds. I hope to get a few shots of the ringing, but no promises!

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  3. Wonderful news for this year's brood then Richard. Do you know (I know that you do) that without people who are diligent enough to erect nest boxes, Barn Owl numbers would be half of our current UK population. Well done and thank you to your friends. Have a nice time ringing mate.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words of encouragement, Christian. I will make sure that my friends get the message.

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  4. Wow waht a nest box, it appaears to be massive!

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    1. Yes, Paul, one box is rather large compared to the ones you put up. The other box is a two-story effort and huge!!

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