Thursday, November 19, 2009

Checking the barn owl box in the lower orchard at Charingworth

On Tuesday my friend Freddie and I took a ladder into the lower orchard to retrieve a pulley from up in a tree. We also took the opportunity to have a peek into one of the two barn owl boxes we erected in the orchards one month ago. The photo on the right shows why its good to check the boxes when it's not the breeding season. I removed that pile of ivy (hat for scale) that had been crammed into the box by a wood pigeon or dove. Barn owls are unlikely to use a box that has been filled with debris and so a respectful amount of intervention is necessary to give them a hand.

Sunglasses were appropriate (a rarity for November!) as a precaution against the slim chance of us disturbing a grumpy tawny owl. Neither of us wished for the fate of Eric Hosking, 'the most celebrated British wildlife photographer of the 20th century' (Birds Britannica), who lost an eye when scratched by a territorial tawny he was photographing. He got a fantastic photo of the culprit for his pains though.

I also discovered that one of my neighbours, Louise, is well on top of the agenda as she has a fantastic box she erected two years ago. It has been checked and so far, no signs of owls. Having a range of potential nesting sites gives the birds some choice and flexibility, hopefully increasing the stability of any population that establishes locally.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails