Barn Owl Update

7/01/2015 03:19:00 pm 0 Comments

Ian Anderson of The Barn Owl Project (part of the Wychwood Project) called at Honeydale Farm this week to check for any developments in our barn owl box. An adult owl, probably male, was briefly sighted flying from the tree branches above the box. There was significant evidence that the box had been used over the past weeks but no sign of breeding activity. While this is disappointing it’s not surprising. It has been a very late year for barn owls. Pairs have been late to start egg-laying and some have not even got that far as yet. Egg clutches and young brood have been smaller than usual.

The reason for this is almost certainly a shortage of prey; this has been a ‘population crash year’ for short tailed field voles, the main prey for barn owls. This crash happens every 4th or 5th year and affects barn owl breeding every time. There is evidence that prey populations are now beginning to build up again so it is likely that we will see more late broods than normal. Fingers crossed we may still have barn owl chicks at Honeydale Farm this year.


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