Nesting owls

Thurs 12th April 2012

My story this week is all about birds again. It’s that busy time of year when they start to rear their young. As I mentioned last time, there are a few blackbird’s nests around, and now the chicks have hatched. But my best story this week is about something I’ve been trying to achieve on our land for the past four years and that’s to get an owl to nest in one of my nesting boxes. Well, it has happen at last.

I’ve seen both the barn owl and the tawny owl on our land and last year a tawny owl roosted one of my boxes. Imagine how pleased I was when I found out that this year it’s built a nest in there. And now, can you believe it, there are three chicks in the nest, all different sizes. I’m so happy about it.

I guess you might be asking why the chicks are different sizes. Let me tell you. The owl lays its eggs over a period of several days, missing a day or two between each egg. If the owls can’t find enough food for all their babies then, and I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but we have to say goodbye to the smallest one as it gets eaten by the others. It’s the way of nature to ensure that some survive.

I’m just hoping our owls can find plenty of food and that the three clicks all live. I think they will because our fields have got lots of old grass on them and there are plenty of mice there. I know this because my dog Megan is always digging for them.

Of course this is the sort of place the owl looks for when they pick there nesting site and why I put the nesting box up there. This particular owl box is about three foot up on an ash tree branch. It’s very important that the box is in a place where the owls can land alright and climb in and out of the box easily.

Over the past week I’ve spent a lot of time trying to film the owls going into the box with a mouse or rat. Then the other night, Easter Saturday it was, I finally got the shot I had been waiting for. It happened at 10 past 10 in the evening. I can’t tell you how pleased I was to get that shot. I was in my one man tent and it was so cold but I never gave up and it paid off in the end.

So now I shall pray for good weather so that these lovely birds can hunt successfully. I will be keeping a close eye on them and am hoping to film them right up until the young fly. I’ll let you lovely people know how they are getting on.