A Good Start

Sunday, April 27th 2014

 The bird ringers have been out this weekend between the showers, checking the owl nest boxes. It was probably the most successful start to the season ever with 10 adult Tawny Owls retrapped, 16 hatched owlets and 9 eggs still to go. And all of these were from approximately 25% of the total boxes with many more still to be checked. One of the adults remains to be caught as it was in a box they had not bred in for 15 years.

The owls have started early and have really benefited from the mild weather, some of the young are well advanced. Of the adults all had been caught and ringed before – not a single new adult was among them! The ages ranged from 10 years old to 3 years old. Eight birds were breeding in the same box they were originally caught in as breeding adults showing how site faithful they are. One adult was breeding in the box it was born in, and one ringed as a chick near Hudswell Grange was breeding on Haig Road in the Garrison. We have lots more to do but this is a very positive start to the season indeed. Thanks to everyone who helped.

Many of the boxes are situated high up on trees, so a ladder is essential.

ladders essential

 Gloves are also important to protect hands from very sharp claws.

Gloves are needed against sharp claws

The chicks are ringed and returned to the nest.

Ringing the chick

Waiting to be returned to the nest.

Waiting to be returned to the nest

There are times when all you can say is aahhh.  It just looks so comfy.


A close up of the adult Tawny Owl shows its beautiful plumage and sharp claws.

Adult Tawny Owl

Without including the owls ringed this weekend 623 new Tawny Owls have been ringed on the Training Area and at Foxglove by the ringing group in the past 20 years.  This total jumps to 763 when retraps are included.  No birds from outside the area have ever been caught which demonstrates just how territorial they are.

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