Barn Owl Chicks at Honeydale

7/20/2016 03:41:00 pm 0 Comments

Thrilling news from the latest Honeydale Farm bird survey. There are Barn Owls chicks in the nestbox. Our birdman, Richard Brougton from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, observed that both parents are bringing in food and chicks can be heard hissing in the box (so must be fairly big already). There's hatched eggshell underneath the nestbox. 


Honeydale Farm is proving to be a great hunting ground for Barn Owls. Two of the grass fields have recently been mown, which has given the owls a temporary glut of prey (as the voles are exposed) and one of the owl parents is also regularly hunting in the long grass in the orchard and catching a lot of prey (3 voles in half an hour!). Leaving this grass long until the autumn will give the owls a stable hunting ground for the duration of rearing the chicks and we’ll also be leaving wide margins of long grass after mowing in order to maintain a good supply of voles.

There are also huge numbers of butterflies on the farm at the moment, especially Meadow Browns. Richard says he doesn’t think he’s ever seen so many. The uncut strip of herbal ley in one of the arable fields is teeming with butterflies. Richard also saw a Marbled White, which might be a new species here. We’ll be looking into conducting a butterfly survey to compare with the baseline figures gathered when we first took over the farm.

Matthew Johnson

Graphic Designer at Cotswold Seeds Google

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