A morning spent dodging showers and though we did find owls; they weren’t really what we hoped for. Local Keyworth naturalist, Neil Pinder was my helper today.
Looking into boxes where we’d had Barn Owls in the past; I found the yellow eyes of a Little Owl glaring at me. There were a few small chicks as well, hence her reluctance to depart which is what ‘Littles’ usually do. I shepherded her into a corner and gently took hold; they’re tiny compared to other owls and you have to handle with care. They’re delightful little birds; they look quite big when in a tree but are tiny in the hand. I put a ring on her, keeping her dry as we were hit by the first shower of the day and popped her back into the box though she soon baled out to a nearby tree to admire her new jewellery.
Next to Eurobale, the grass factory where we’ve had both Barn and Tawny Owls breeding in the last 3 years.
The Tawny female I’d ringed here last year was in the box with a single chick; I put on the builder’s glove and got the net; Tawny’s are much heavier and more powerful than Barn Owls and have to be treated with respect. Not that bright though and she jumped into the net and was soon extracted and wrapped up in the towel. I ringed the chick and they were both returned to the box where they stayed as we drove away.
We moved on to the Barn Owl box and it looked good as one left the box as we approached but it was a lone bird and for the first time since 06, there were no breeding birds in the box; ah well, you can’t win em all and to make matters worse; I found the remains of last year’s chick in the box.