Not as good year for our barn owls on Lark Rise this year. We have just one chick which was ringed yesterday.

It’s doing very well being the centre of attention from two active parents, there were 3 field voles and 2 wood mice in the box with it for whenever it got a bit peckish.

When we did the checks three weeks ago it was about half this size, and it also had a couple of rodents in the larder. There are undoubtedly lots of prey available this year as weather conditions have been good for rodents, and it was a mild winter which will have helped them, but according to our owl expert Colin Shawyer the wet and windy weather in Feb-March restricted the adults’ ability to go out hunting, so the females lost a lot of body condition and were not able to produce eggs this spring.

A lot of the prey items in the box were young animals so the rodents are breeding well. Barn Owls are very flexible in their breeding strategy – they may have some later attempts this year, or have a big year next year.

Dr Vince Lea
Head of Wildlife Monitoring

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