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Nesting Time

Tuesday, May 10th 2011

For the members of the Swaledale Ringing Team it is a very busy time of year as nests and chicks of all kinds are monitored and recorded. It is also a time when some birds can be ringed as pulli such as Herons, Lapwings and Tawny Owls which are very difficult to catch as adults. Here you can see a young Grey Heron that was ringed at the end of last week.

Young Heron

The Owl boxes out on the training area have nearly all been checked now and it seems that the Tawny Owls have had a mediocre breeding season with some of their boxes occupied by Jackdaws and Kestrels. Here is a picture of one successful owl box. Tom described these owlets as being surrounded by an 'ermine' of rabbits! They were very snug and had plenty of food to keep them going!  In fact more food than we have ever seen in a box before!

Tawny chicks in nest

On Saturday, six people joined Tom and Paul as they checked some of the 170 nest boxes spread across the reserve. It is pleasing to report that the number of boxes occupied are at least as many as the last two years which means that Blue Tits, Great Tits and the Tawny Owls in Foxglove have managed to survive the winter. Nest making this year has started very early and there are already chicks in some of the boxes whilst other nests are still being constructed. There will be another walk in two weeks time to monitor some of these later nesters. If you would like to take part then please contact us at the Field Centre by phone or email (see events section for details).

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