Project update June 2011
Report on the Barn Owl project
Those involved with this activity have been busy in recent months.
During late winter/early spring 2011 the barn owl project were able to catch up on our list of requests for farm visits to assess suitability for erecting new nest boxes on potential sites and to talk to landowners. It was also a period when they were able to undertake essential maintenance tasks at some of our well-established sites and to devote time to replenish our stocks by making up new boxes.
Following the generally poor breeding successes of 2010 (linked to the UK wide cyclical crash of field vole populations) and the harsh winter, particularly the long period of deep snow cover, it is hoped for better times in 2011. Early indications are promising. They have found that, where breeding pairs are present at a site, clutch sizes have been good, in direct contrast to 2010. However, it has also been disappointing to find no birds at a number of ‘banker’ sites, which is probably an indication that the adult breeding population has taken a severe knock over last summer and winter. They have also been annoyed at finding a vandalised nest box at a previously successful site near Witney.
Ian Anderson & Pat Wixey
27th June, 2011