Gordon came round today and brought John Revill for a Barn Owl experience. If I’m an Owl Man, then you could say that John is a Tit Man; that’s Willow Tits, doing a similar job to us but on a slightly smaller scale; putting nesting boxes into good habitat and hoping that the birds will take to them. An advantage is that you don’t need a ladder to fall off and you go home with your hands intact.
Today, I was catching up on a few inspections to what we could call ‘Dead Boxes’, some that had never had Barn Owls but in the main provide cozy homes for Jackdaws and Stock Doves. I live in hope that one day, these boxes will have a Barn Owl inside; they’re in good habitat but for some reason, don’t attract the owls. Some have had Barn Owls in the past; I’ve seen Barn Owls come out, found pellets inside and a couple have been used for breeding in the past though not for several years; however, I spent most of the morning wearing a dust mask and heavy gloves pulling Jackdaw sticks out of the boxes.
The one highlight of the day was at a box that had held a female Barn Owl last September and I had hopes that this bird might have attracted a mate and be still at home. However, it appeared that Darwin’s Theory of Evolution had taken hold and that out Barn Owl had evolved into a massive female Tawny. She lay in the box with her two small chicks completely unphazed by my presence; just looking at me with those big brown eyes. Now Tawnies usually scarper pretty quick and are easily caught in the big fishing net held up to the box hole but not this lady who was not for moving. Even when I carefully removed the chicks, she was unmoved and it would have taken a stick of dynamite to shift her. Anyway, we’re a Barn Owl project so it wasn’t the end of the world (that was last week) if I didn’t ring her. The chicks were too small to ring as well so I carefully replaced them in front of Mum and left her in peace.
So no additions to the total today but I still a load of boxes to inspect in the east of the borough and will hope to get another 10 pairs from those so watch this space.