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19 May 2012

Best things come in trees

Another Long-eared Owl nest was located during the Duhallow Raptor Project (see post below), and already patterns about nest site selection are emerging. Like the other two so far discovered, the nest is in a spruce, is very high up (20 m, 60 ft), in what is probably an old Hooded Crow's nest, and is near to the edge of a woodland rather than deep within it. 

The Long-eared Owl nest, in a pine tree within a Birch woodland (M.O'Clery).

Unlike the other two nests however, where very few pellets and droppings were to be found underneath, there were more visible signs under this one, perhaps because the two young and active chicks are less cautious about such matters than their parents.

Pellets and 'whitewash' underneath the nest (M.O'Clery). 

Pellets are regurgitated several times a day and contain the indigestible bones, hair and feathers of their prey, and these remains, by careful dissection and identification, can allow us to assess what the owls have been eating.