Are the Barn Owls Suffering???

Just been checking two barn owl boxes expecting to find chicks in both ready for ringing. The first box contained three dead chicks (luckily the second box had two healthy chicks in it).

But this is the second week I’ve found a box with a full brood of dead chicks.

The first time I tried to explain the loss by looking for other probable causes. But having found a second box with a full brood of dead chicks – I think the cause is quite obvious – the very long dry hot spell.

But there still remains one unanswered question – was it the heat in the box – or lack of food (because the grassed areas for voles and shrews is just a dried brown desert). The two boxes were un-shaded, whilst the surviving 2 chicks were in a box under a full shaded tree canopy.

In any event I feel devastated and helpless.

One comment on “Are the Barn Owls Suffering???
  1. Ian Jones MCBOCGadmin says:

    Barn owls range in warmer temperatures all around the world, so whilst it might be heat in the box I suspect the drying out of the grass, and the effect on voles, has more to do with it.
    Lack of caching in succesful boxes and a more varied prey type may be indicators of this.
    It would be interesting to hear what other groups are experiencing and if anyone else has any suggestions as to the cause.

    Could be worth further discussion on “our Current trends” discussion page.

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