22 February 2020

Video to the left is of the latest footage taken from one of my Barn Owl nest boxes. This particular nest box was a replacement and I was really anxious that this pair may not take to it. So that is why I decided to use a trail camera to see if it was being used or not.

So as you can see thankfully they have taken to the nest box and looked loved up with the male passing food to the female.

21 February 2020

CURRENT STATUS OF THE UK BARN OWL POPULATION – SPRING FORECAST BY THE BARN OWL CONSERVATION NETWORK April 2014

The status of the UK barn owl population has been the subject of considerable discussion and speculation this year, particularly in relation to claims from the Barn Owl Trust of ‘catastrophic decline’. Actually, the population is considered to be healthy and growing by many scientists and conservationists who work on this species. This is the situation described in a recent publication from the British Trust for Ornithology “Bird Atlas 2007-2011 – the Breeding and Wintering Birds of Britain and Ireland”.

A statistic used by ornithologists to describe populations of UK birds is the number of ‘breeding pairs’. This means the number of pairs that establish a nest and attempt to breed in a given year. A survey was conducted during the period 1995 to 1997 by the British Trust for Ornithology, in conjunction with the Hawk and Owl Trust. This showed there to be about 4,000 breeding pairs of barn owls in the UK at that time. Obviously, the actual population was larger because not all barn owls form stable pairs within breeding territories each year. Prior to that survey, a vast conservation effort was mobilised to stabilise the UK population of barn owls and to arrest and reverse a long-term decline. These efforts continue to this day. Recent estimates put barn owl numbers in the UK at about 9,000 pairs. Although it is long established that far fewer than this successfully rear chicks in years when weather conditions are difficult, such as in 2013.

Each year since 2000, the organisers of the Barn Owl Conservation Network (BOCN) have issued a spring statement. This is intended to summarise the current status of barn owls in the UK and to provide information for those intending to work on surveys and other scientific projects relating to barn owls in the coming breeding season. These workers visit thousands of barn owl breeding sites across the UK. One of the primary purposes of this work is to ring barn owl adults and chicks. But studies such as these provide a wide range of additional data including the number of successful and failed breeding attempts, the condition of the breeding pairs and their offspring, various biometrics such as body size and weight, as well as the numbers of eggs laid, chicks hatched and chicks fledged (i.e. leave the nest).

The following document, kindly provided by Colin Shawyer of the BOCN, is an unbiased, scientifically based, comprehensive assessment of barn owls in the UK as we enter the 2014 breeding season. We all hope that the current good weather holds, the predicted abundance of voles occurs and the anticipated 27,000 new barn owls are recruited into the UK barn owl population at the end of the year.

CRRU believes that this document provides a definitive basis for discussion about UK barn owl populations in early 2014. Speculation about “catastrophic decline” appears to be unjustified and is unhelpful in the context of a scientific approach to conservation and barn owl species management.

Campaign for Responsible Rodenticide Use.

Article written by Think Wildlife   April 2014

10 February 2020

So my young apprentice (48) Nigel has successfully built his second external Barn Owl nest box ready to be fitted somewhere in Gloucestershire. Nigel has decided to start his own Barn Owl project near to where he lives in Newent Gloucestshire. Fair play to him he has travelled down to my workshop on several occasions in order to pick up tips on building mainly Barn Owl nest boxes. Well done Nigel I wish your project every success.

8 February 2020

A good friend of mine agreed to lend me his Infra red camera to fit inside one of my Barn Owl nest boxes. This particular nest box is a bit of a worry for me because it replaced a nest box that had been in place for about 10 years. I was worried that I might scare of the nesting pair of Barn Owls. So thanks to Shane he fitted the camera inside the box ad we will leave it there for two weeks to see if it picks up any movement inside the box.

I would be pretty devastated if they are scared off its taken me a long time to get then to nest in the first place. When we retrieve the camera I shall post any images that we may pick up, or may not pick up :-(

6 February 2020

It was a great evening at the Iolo Williams talk held in Newport South Wales. I had the privilege of having a 15  minute chat with him thanks to Steve Roberts. Steve has been close mates with Iolo for a long time and I was thankful to Steve for setting this up. Iolo congratulated me for winning the Pride of Gwent award and also thanksed me for all the work I do through my Project around Gwent. He said Steve had been telling him what work I have done and was keen to be kept up to date with future projects. Obviously I thanked Iolo for his kind compliments and I also thanked him for being such a wildlife champion for Wales. Iolo is a very patriotic Welshman and he lets everyone know that through his talks.

4 February 2020

Nathan and I managed to erect another internal Barn Owl nest box today. This particular box ha been placed inside one of Llanover Estate barns near Abergavenny. Completely safe in this Barn and there is no chance of any disturbance because you have to get through security gate to access Llanover Estate Farm.

1 February 2020

We have been experiencing some horrific weather in the Uk over the past month or so and I have not been able to get to some of my nest box sites with my 4x4. Today was a much better forecast so Nathan (my wingman) and I managed to clean out about 150 nest boxes in total maybe one ot two more. We came to this nest box and as you can see Woodmice have turned it into a Mouse Larder. Usually I would have cleaned the nest box out but just down from this nest box I have a pair of Barn Owls nesting in a nest box. Obviously these rely on the local food source.so with that in mind I decided to leave the mouse larder well alone. My thinking is the more Woodmice in the area the better.