Saturday, 1 November 2008

Winters first blast! And Why BTO Ringing works!!!

Young wild Barn owl hunting
Fieldfares feeding on hawthorn berries
Snow in October? Well some did get snow, seems here in good olde Somerset we have had a couple of night frost, then a real icy wind from the north east which seems to go straight through you when you are out walking. Suddenly both Redwings and Fieldfares (wintering Thrushes) seem to be everywhere, and in big numbers. With the cold weather has come the first of this winters causalities, and not surprising its a predator who has run out of food first. In this case a young barn Owl. This is a male which was found on a farm on the Mendip Hills. It carried with it a ring number, this corresponded to a ring I put on it on July 23rd, it was the youngest of a brood 4 which hatched from original clutch of 6 eggs. The farm it hatched on was approximately half a mile from the farm it was found on some 3 months later. It was found around 2 weeks ago seemingly downed itself as many young predators do, simply with not enough food.
Transferred by a Somerset Wildlife Trust officer to a Wildlife rehab centre and then back to the Somerset Wildlife Trust (SWT) officer for release. The SWT officer had the good sense to realise that she already had barn Owls on her land (so not a good idea to release another), so called me in, at which time I am then re-united with a wild Owl I had met 3 months earlier. I now have the owl placed in a release aviary on Mendip over land which has no current barn Owls on it, yet does have some great hunting habitat for it. As this bird looks in A1 condition we will not hold it long just make sure of its capability, and of course some good weather before its released. This Owl is now just 3 miles from the farm it was hatched, although its total mileage is probably well over 40 miles, 98% has been as a passenger in a car.

Very special thanks to Kate Lawrence (SWT) and once again to Paula, this in advance of her help with yet some more monitoring, this time with a wild Owl that hatched at her farm.

For more information about the Somerset Wildlife Trust (SWT)go to

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