One of the pleasures of doing this work is to take other people to see Barn Owls up close; specially those who’ve contributed to the project.
David Hill, the MD of our sponsors, Carbon Legacy had been promised a trip out to see some Barn Owl chicks and last week we had some chicks to ring very close to the Company HQ at Hickling Pastures.
Neil was helping and we picked David up on the way to Upper Broughton where the box with the chicks is situated in fields behind a stables. The lady here had told me that the owls had been very active and had also invited some family and friends along to see the chicks so there was quite a group of us that walked out through the knee high grass to the box.
Opening the box, I was shocked to see Jackdaw sticks in the box but a closer inspection showed that these were thinly spaced and I could see the white down of Barn Owl chicks behind the sticks.
I pulled the sticks out and found 3 chicks; 2 well grown ones and a runt that was barely half the size of the other two.
Runts usually only survive if there’s a lot of food so I discussed with the lady and her Daughter about the possibility of providing some supplementary food which would benefit the whole family and might make a difference in the eventual survival of the runt. It was big enough to ring so I popped a ring on it’s leg anyway and hope we reconnect sometime in the future!
I’m pleased to say that David greatly enjoyed the experienced and hopefully, some of the Carbon Legacy staff will be able to accompany us on future expeditions!!
Later that evening, I’d arranged with Chris to ring the chicks in the box at Sutton Bonington.
On the way, I checked the box at Gotham to see if there was any sign of the pair there having a second brood. The box was empty and all the chicks I’d ringed there had fledged!
In Sutton Bonington, I knocked on the Farmer’s door but there was no one at home so I went down to the box hoping that the 3 chicks we’d found in the box in mid-June had survived. Thankfully, 2 were still there and Chris soon turned up with his friend Steve and young George who’d been with us on a similar occasion last year.
Photos were taken and chicks ringed and returned when the Farmer turned up with his 3 kids so the chicks were out again and more photos taken and it was great that they were all able to see the chicks close up!!
Altogether a very pleasant day!!

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