5 October 2020
Little Owl nest box project 

As you can see i`ve been busy constructing little owl nest boxes. I actually constructed 16 Little Owl nest boxes for a my friend Richard Clark who is one of our local BTO offices. Richard has a nest box project similar to mine with Tree Sparrows and Barn Owl`s being his target species. Small and stern, the little owl was first introduced to the UK in the 1800s. Look out for them in trees overlooking grassland from where they swoop to catch small prey with their sharp talons. The little owl has piercing yellow eyes and mottled brown and cream colouring across its head and body. The wings are rounded and move with rapid wingbeats. The bird lives up to its name, standing at only 20cm in height, and has a short tail. It’s also the smallest owl in the UK.

It eats mostly small mammals and birds but will also feed on large invertebrates, such as beetles, crickets and worms. It hunts at dawn and dusk, observing the ground from its perch for movement. Once the little owl spots its prey, it swoops, grabbing its meal in its claws or beak. The little owl is monogamous, often staying with the same partner for life. It is ready to breed when it reaches one year of age. It nests in small holes in trees or sometimes, surprisingly, disused rabbit burrows. The young are raised between May and July from two to five eggs.

The little owl makes its home in small copses, on parkland, around farms and in orchards and open woodland. It is found across England and parts of Wales but is absent from Scotland and Northern Ireland. Little owls can be active during the day. Look for them particularly in the early morning or at dusk, perched on poles or fence posts. Listen for their strange mewing call or the male’s ‘hoo-eet’ song on summer evenings.

The UK's little-owl population is in decline, having fallen by 18% since 1995. While it is unclear why the species is declining, some suggest it may be due to more intensive farming methods.

1 October 2020

Dormice are barely ever seen due to the fact they spend most of the day asleep! At night they come alive, climbing high into the trees on the hunt for a tasty snack. Their favourite foods are hazelnuts, berries and insects. Dormice build nests out of grass and leaves ready for the female to give birth to up to seven young. In autumn, dormice start looking for the perfect spot to hibernate for winter. They often choose to sleep in logs or leaves at the base of trees or just beneath the ground where they can avoid the winter cold. Hazel dormice, like many of our other small animals, hibernate through the winter months in order to survive. If food is scarce outside of hibernation season, they can save energy by dropping their body temperature and going into a state of 'torpor'. In fact, dormice can spend nearly three-quarters of the year 'asleep' in some form!